Thanaka cream is a yellowish paste made from the bark of the Hesperethusa crenulata and Limonia acidissima trees.Although there is mention of Thanaka in 14th and 15th century literature, the use of the cream in Burmese culture dates back over 2,000 years and is by far one of the most distinctive and significant features thereof. The cream is worn primarily by women, young girls, and men although it is less frequently worn by males. Today, 9 out of 10 Myanmar households use the cream making it an integral part of their culture and their society.
More about the Source
Thanaka cream is made from the bark of trees that are indigenous the central arid zone ofMyanmar. The bark is ground into powder and mixed with a small amount of water to form the cream or paste that is applied to the face and in some cases the arms as well. The trees are perennials and must be a minimum of 35 years old before it can yield high-quality cuttings. Because the Thanaka tree is able to grow in harsh conditions, the locals believe it has strong healing powers.
To date, there are not many beauty or cosmetic products in the U.S that are made from the bark of the Thanaka tree. However, the fact that it is popularly used by Burmese for different reasons is attributed to its 3 active ingredients which include:
Arbutin – this ingredient gives Thanaka cream its skin brightening properties
Coumarin – the anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties of the cream are attributed to this ingredient
Marmesin – the presence of this ingredient accounts for the UV absorption properties of the cream, hence its use by many as a sunscreen when worn in a thick layer
Furthermore, coumarin is a fragrant organic compound and is found in many plants.
Thanaka cream Preparation
The bark (as well as the roots and wood) from Thanaka trees such as Hesperethusa crenulata andLimonia acidissima is what is used to make the cream that is applied as a face mask. The bark is ground into a fine powder and then mixed with small amounts of water in a 1:1 ratio to make a creamy, yellowish paste that is applied to the skin.
Application, Properties, and Style
Thanaka has been a staple item in Burmese culture for over 2,000 years. It has a very fragrant sandalwood like scent. Thanaka cream is applied to the face in a number of designs the most common of which is a circular pattern on each cheek. It can also be applied with the fingertips as a series of stripes or patterned in a leaf shape.
The cream can be applied from the head down to the toes if desired. Apart from its cosmetic qualities, Thanaka provides a skin-cooling sensation and protects the skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays when worn in a thick layer. The Burmese also believe it helps treat acne and prevent further outbreaks while at the same time promoting smooth skin. Additionally, Thanaka also has anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Some of the locals even claim that it can be used to calm itching and as a scar-healing cream. The use of the cream to Myanmar’s neighboring countries and has become especially popular inThailand.
Variety of Thanaka Cream Face Masks
You can achieve different results with face masks made by mixing Thanaka powder with different ingredients. For instance, by mixing the powder with honey and milk, you can create a gentle exfoliating face mask. If you want to brighten, smooth, and soften facial skin, mix the powder with coconut oil, honey, and turmeric. To nourish and rehydrate, facial skin, mix the powder with ground walnuts, honey, and milk.
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Original Healing Bark Face Mask
100% Pure Thanaka Powder from hidden Myanmar forests
Used by locals to keep skin clear and glowing for centuries