Thanakhar is a traditional cosmetic paste used predominantly in Myanmar. It is made from ground bark of certain trees, most commonly the thanakhar tree (Hesperethusa crenulata) and the wood-apple tree (Limonia acidissima).

Here are some key points about thanaka:

  1. Preparation and Application:
    • The bark, wood, or roots of the thanakhar tree are ground on a flat, circular stone called a kyauk pyin with a small amount of water to produce a milky paste.
    • This paste is then applied to the face, and sometimes the arms, in various patterns. Common patterns include circular patches on the cheeks, a stripe down the nose, or a more elaborate design.
  2. Benefits:
    • Thanakhar is prized for its cooling properties and is believed to help protect the skin from sunburn.
    • It also has astringent properties, which can tighten the skin.
    • Some believe it has anti-fungal properties and can treat acne and other skin conditions.
    • It provides a fragrant scent and a smooth texture to the skin.
  3. Cultural Significance:
    • Thanakhar has been used for over 2,000 years and is deeply embedded in Myanmar culture.
    • It is worn daily by many women and children and occasionally by men. It is often seen during festivals and cultural events.
  4. Modern Use:
    • Today, thanakhar is available in various commercial forms, including powder, cream, and lotion.
    • Despite modern beauty products’ availability, many Myanmar people continue to use traditional thanakhar for its natural benefits and cultural significance.

In summary, thanakhar is a natural cosmetic with historical, cultural, and skincare benefits, widely used in Myanmar.