Thanaka: Myanmar’s Best Beauty Secret

Jun 4, 2019 | Myanmar, Style

Culture & Travel 

Burmese Girl | Thomas Schoch

Take a look into this ancient all-natural beauty gem from Myanmar

Asia is known for its love for beauty products. While many are familiar with the Korean 10-step skincare routine, most people do not know what Thanaka is.

For centuries, Thanaka has been used by Burmese people as an integral part of their beauty regimen. If you’ve been to Myanmar and have wondered why people paint their skin with white paste, this is the answer.

This beauty product is also widely used in Asia as medicine. Despite this, only Myanmar utilizes it for cosmetics. As you take a walk in the markets of Myanmar, you will see logs of the Thanaka tree, ready to be turned into a golden white paste.

Thanaka - Myanmar

Thanaka – Myanmar | Gerd Eichmann

Additionally, it is known as nature’s version of sunscreen and is also popular because of its antioxidant properties.  Thanaka boasts a high quantity of Vitamin E, which gives the skin protection against free radicals and pollution which can damage cell structure.

It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties to help with acne.  Aside from that, it can also be used as a moisturizer because of its hydrating quality.    

Thanaka cream is derived from a tree which takes over 2 years to grow. However, people have to wait at three and a half decades years to turn it into a beauty product. To transform the tree bark into a beauty product, it is pulverized on a slab of wet stone until it forms a paste. Thanaka is notable for its silky texture and bark-like smell.  

When in Myanmar, you will usually see Thanaka applied in the face and hands of women. While some men use it, it is not that common. Aside from females, Babies can also be found wearing thick patches of Thanaka on their faces to help them have clear skin later on in life.

Now, it can be bought as directly as powder or cream form. It is also used in many beauty products such as acne treatments, anti-fungal and skin cooling products, sunscreen, and even makeup.

While Asia news is bombarded with modern beauty products, this iconic ancient beauty product is still worthy of a spot in the limelight.