What is it?

Thanaka is a yellowish-white cosmetic paste made from ground bark. It comes from a small tree in Myanmar, and in some part of Thailand. Thanaka has an important use in daily Burmese life. Used for over 2000 years, Thanaka paste is a unique Burmese tradition: men, women, and children can be seen wearing it with variety of patterns.

It has a fragrant scent somewhat similar to sandalwood. The creamy paste is made from Thanaka wood, ground on a stone slab called Kyauk Pyin. Its powder mixed with water is applied to the face and sometimes the arms, in attractive designs: the most common is a circular patch on each cheek and on the nose. Sometimes the design is made of stripes done with the fingers or patterned in the shape of a leaf, often also highlighting the bridge of the nose with it at the same time.

Apart from cosmetic beauty, Thanaka also gives a cooling sensation and provides protection from sunburn. It is believed to help remove acne, it promotes smooth skin and it is also an anti-fungal. With its active ingredients (Coumarin and Marmesin) this extraordinary paste has a varying range of benefits according to Traditional Medicine:


Skin Benefits of Thanaka

           1.Highly effective natural sunscreen

Burmese women found that the Thanaka paste protected their skin from the scorching Myanmar sun. Even after hours of outdoor work, the delicate skin on their faces was protected from sunburn, sun damage and dehydration by covering the face in cream. Even in winter, it is extremely important to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. This is a great, smooth and natural alternative during the days when you don’t want to wear sunscreen

          2.Refines the pores

When dirt and other debris particles become embedded in pores, they can make them appear larger and more noticeable. Thanaka paste is a highly effective deep cleanser which helps to reduce the appearance of pores, removes impurities and contributes to a cleaner complexion.

          3.Provides a cooling effect

Thanaka provides the skin with a refreshing feeling after each application. It leaves the skin feeling cool and adds sufficient hydration to make you feel rejuvenated and renewed.


According to studies, Thanaka powder helps to reduce free radicals in the body. Free radicals occur as a result of natural processes in the body. If the free radicals are not eliminated or taken care of by the body’s antioxidants, they can lead to serious skin diseases including cancer.

When applied to the skin, Thanaka provides a natural infusion of antioxidants to promote healthy skin.

          5.Regulates moisture

Thanaka powder helps to balance the skin by removing and controlling excess oil. This process prevents blemishes, removes blackheads and reduces acne related skin imperfections. Studies have also shown that Thanaka has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which help to leave your skin naturally clear and beautiful.

          6.More Health and Beauty benefits

Thanaka is also used as a medicinal product to treat acne, fungus, skin sores, measles, epilepsy, poisoning and fever.

Combined with aloe, the thanaka in moisturizer leaves skin cool and hydrated without weighing it down and in turn leaving you feeling rejuvenated and awake.

Beside skin benefits Thanaka has much more to offer. Whether it is used as a medicine against stomach problems, as a prevention of Malaria or as a key ingredient in ayurvedic treatments many of its uses are still undiscovered and filled with beauty and health secrets.