Thanaka is such an attractive ingredient when it comes to cosmetics, skincare, and all things beauty. Found in several countries in Southeast Asia like Myanmar, this specific plant has been revolutionary in producing a powder that can help you rewind time and improve the elasticity of your skin. 

Many are continuing to create buzz about the effectiveness of thanaka’s anti-aging and anti-inflammatory effects, but it does start to spark a bit of curiosity. When something is able to work so well, you begin to wonder about the components that are in it and whether they’re a bit too good to be true for your skin. 

Thanaka’s composition and its active chemicals aren’t exactly a secret, and you can actually look into it further. Here’s a simple breakdown of this wonderful skincare ingredient’s properties:

What Are the Main Chemical Properties of Thanaka?

Thanaka comes from a tree that goes by many popular names, though the Burmese label is the most prominent of it. The bark, and sometimes its leaflets, are crushed into a fine powder. There may be fruits harvested from this petite tree, with its flesh bordering red or purple in hue.

The powder itself is far from those warm tones, though, with Thanaka users describing the powder to be a bit more yellow in its color. That’s always been the case despite the long arguments about Thanaka’s history throughout Asian monarchies and the like.

In order to activate the main chemical properties of Thanaka, which mostly comprise of marmesin and coumarin, it is mixed with some water to turn this into a paste. This is applied to the skin in order to smooth out any wrinkles, prevent acne from developing and more.

What Exactly is Marmesin in Thanaka?

Marmesin is a chemical that is present in Thanaka powder, with researchers discovering it in the methanol extract of the plant. The main advantage that marmesin provides to the mix is that it is able to help with absorbing ultraviolet rays and protecting the skin from its harmful effects.

The UV absorption and protection that marmesin provides make sense, considering that Thanaka is known to calm the skin and even out its appearance by fighting back inflammation. Marmesin can even reduce texture, which is the long-lasting effect that comes with excessive UV exposure.

What Exactly Is Coumarin in Thanaka?

Coumarin, on the other hand, is a polyphenol or plant metabolite that is prominent in Thanaka, with a majority of the latter’s composition being made up of this chemical. There are multiple kinds of natural coumarins that can occur in different plants and vegetables.

Overall though, coumarin is known to help with UV absorption as well, which can be a great aid for your skin alongside marmesin. Coumarin may also be the element that’s giving Thanaka its antioxidant properties, which help in preventing diseases and keeping the skin as healthy as possible. It’s also been linked to being anti-cancer by some researchers.


To sum it up, the main biological components that make up Thanaka and its chemical properties are marmesin and coumarin. These two powerhouse ingredients are able to fight off UV rays and their effect on the skin while providing nourishment after application.

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