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Why Is Thanaka a Myanmar Household Tradition?

 The Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar is the home to a traditional custom that dates back over 2,000 years, namely the use of Thanaka by Burmese women and children as well as some men.  If you ever visit this country and have the opportunity to spend time with and speak to any of the locals, you will quickly discover that the Burmese people feel a great sense of pride about wearing this yellowish paste on their faces.  Not only is this a traditional skin conditioning agent, it is a cherished part of the Burmese culture as well as their national identity.

 

Daily Use 

Thanaka emits a fragrant, sandalwood-like scent and is a traditional component in nearly every Myanmar household.  Every day, Burmese women, children, and even some of the men will paint the yellowish, creamy paste on their faces after bathing.  The locals believe that it controls oily skin, has a cooling effect, and tightens their pores.  It is applied in a number of from a basic smear to more elaborate patterns.  It can be applied very lightly or as a thick facial mask.  There are no rules.

It is commonly used as a natural sunscreen on the faces and arms of individuals who tend the rice paddies or work outdoors for several hours at a time because they believe that it protects their skin from the sun’s harsh UV rays.  The wearing of Thanaka is a centuries old Burmese female beautification technique and is revered by many women as a traditional beauty secret.  Its popularity is partially attributed to its skin-cooling and smoothing properties along with its sandalwood-like fragrance. Traditionally, women and children use this but many men prefer using it to create a barrier from the harsh sun rays.

 

Retail Availability

Thanks to modern day science, Thanaka can now be found in many retail locations in Myanmar and Thailand.  Retailers and traders that sell the product on a daily basis are claiming tremendous earnings from the sale of the product as well.  However, many legitimate sellers have cautioned buyers to beware of products that do not have the Ministry of Wealth’s stamp of approval on them. However, not all traditionally used items are certified but people believe in their effectiveness. 

Yet while synthesized retail cosmetics are less expensive and more conveniently sold in the marketplace, Burmese women have remained loyal users of the traditional organic versions of Thanaka products.  This is attributed to concerns of many consumers about the purity of the newer synthesized versions sold by numerous retailers today.  To learn more about Thanaka and its many benefits, visit the Healing Bark website today.