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Thanaka – The magic powder of Myanmar

Like many countries in Southeast Asia, Myanmar also has a warm and extreme climate throughout the year, which results in the dark brown skin of Burmese people. However, their skin still looks smooth and bright without any acne. What is the secret of the Burmese while most women in Myanmar do not use cosmetic? It is because they use a secret powder called “Thanaka”.

Origin of thanaka powder

Burmese used thanaka powder since the fourteenth century, which made from a wood with same name. This type of tree is considered as the specialty of Myanmar, grown in many areas of the country. When processing Thanaka powder, the logs are cut into pieces and crushed into absorbent stones. The powder then will be used to apply on face.

The bark of the plants are used to make thanaka powder must be more than 2 years old, but to get the best bark, the plants must be over 35 years old. After possessing them, people pulverize the crusts in a yellowish-white mixture and apply it on their faces. There are two forms of thanaka nowadays for them to opt for, which are powder and cream.
Burmese use this powder to apply mainly on the cheeks and noses. However, it is also used for parts such as necks, clavicles and even ears, or all parts of the skin that may be exposed to the sun. An interesting way of using it is to draw various motifs children’s faces such as leaf, flowers,…

Being an effective and economical product for beauty, Burmese use thanaka powder daily. This powder helps to cool the face, eliminate skin imperfections such as freckles, acne, skin discoloration and rashes. In addition, it is believed that thanaka can increase the production of collagen and elastin to protect and prevent premature skin aging.

The meaning of thanaka powder with Burmese

Burmese not only consider thanaka powder as the beauty cosmetic but a cultural highlight as well. For them, the application of thanaka powder on the face will help them avoid bad spirits and bad luck.

 If you have the opportunity to visit Myanmar, don’t forget to try this magic powder!


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