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Burmese child

A young girl wearing Thanaka in leaf patterns.

Thanaka stone plate

Stone plate and thanaka paste.

A Popular Beauty Product

Thanaka is a beauty product that has been used for thousands of years by the people in Burma. It is made from the stem bark of a popular tropical plant found in Southeast Asia. The tree must age for thirty-five years before it can be harvested. The wood and bark is then ground into a powder using a kyauk pyin, which is a circular piece of stone. On the kyauk pyin is a special channel to collect the liquid, which is applied immediately to the skin. The paste is used as a sunscreen, anti-aging, astringent, and antiseptic product. Thanaka powder is mixed with water, which can then be applied to the cheeks, nose, and arms. Often it is applied using flower, swirls, geometeric, and other designs, creating a fragrant yellow crust. [1] [2] 



[1] Goldsberry, Anne, et al. "Thanaka: Traditional Burmese Sun Protection." Journal of Drugs in Dermatology Volume 13. Issue 3  http://jddonline.com/articles/dermatology/S1545961614P0306X/1#close

[2] Wangthong, Sakulna, et al. "Biological Activities And Safety Of Thanaka (Hesperethusa Crenulata) Stem Bark." Journal Of Ethnopharmacology 132.2 (2010): 466-472. Academic Search Premier. Accessed 27 May 2015. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Burmese_child_072.jpg