Is Thanaka truly a traditional sun cream of Burmese women?

If you have ever travel to Myanmar, images of girls with white faces appearing as mud or white painted have surely seen on the streets of Yangon, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw. The Thanaka powder is what the Burmese women are using to make those unique looks. If you come to Myanmar one day, do not miss the opportunity to try thanaka powder. It is for the skin protection against the sunlight of the tower country. Thanaka – A Beauty Secret Of Burmese Women will tell you an amazing story about this unique cosmetic. To get more information, please view:  Indochina tours Myanmar

What is Thanaka?


Thanaka, traddition beauty and culture of Burmese
Thanaka, traditional Burmese beauty secret – source: internet

Visitors can easily recognise the strange yellow powder paintings on the cheeks and foreheads of women and children in Myanmar. The powder is thickly embossed or carefully painted into various patterns. They call it Thanaka, a powder made from the bark of a local woody plant, growing in many parts of Myanmar. It is known as Thanaka wood pulp. Because of its great benefits, Thanaka is considered as the speciality of the land of the pagoda. Besides, Burmese women put Thakana on their face as a way to express their national pride and preserve their traditional culture.

Local people make thanaka from thanaka wood
Local people make Thanaka from Thanaka wood pulp- source: internet

Thanaka’s logs are firstly cut short enough, then the Burmese women grind the short trunks into slabs of water. With the cooling and cleansing effects of the powder, the finished paste is soft and opaque enough for the women to apply to their face or areas exposed to sunlight as a way to prevent the UV rays effectively.

Thanaka dates back to the fourteenth century. It is when people put or kneaded this powder on the face daily to soften the skin and protect the face from the dazzling sunshine of Burma. Gradually, Thanaka has become a traditional Burmese beauty treatment, considered as an important part of the ladies of the West. Plan your Myanmar itinerary 10 days to have the enjoyable experience about thanaka.

How to apply Thanaka

The gold solution is applied to the eyebrows and cheek with a coarse bristle brush. It creates light lines on the face. It is almost similar to the smell of lemongrass and leaving a feeling of itchy skin at first. Thanaka is also applied on the neck, across the collarbone and even to the ear. Nearly all skin that is exposed to the sun will be covered with this powder. This is a long tradition of the locals, and the powder blends naturally with the skin.


Thanaka on the cheek of litte Burmese girl
Thanaka on the cheek of little Burmese girl- source: internet

Thanaka is not only regarded as a kind of beauty cosmetic but it also plays a significant role in Burmese tradition. Burmese believes that applying Thanaka to the face will help them avoid evil spirits and bad luck as well as bring good luck to those who use it. Therefore, together with the beauty effect, it is also a characteristic traditional culture.


Thanaka is the unique cultural traddition of Burmese
Thanaka is the unique cultural tradition of Burmese- source: internet

From the bright golden temple to the vast fields reflecting the sunshine, Myanmar is the land of beautiful scenery. But one of the most charismatic features does not appear in every landscape but on the faces of the local people. Visitors who come to the country of pagodas, along with being overwhelmed by the beauty of the temples, will certainly have interest in a mystery about the beauty of women in Myanmar with Thanaka on their cheeks.

See more:

Private city tour in Yangon

Best of the Golden Land 14D – 13N

Grand Myanmar 24D – 23N

Asia Travel Lover


Blog Categories

Article Submission

If you would like to submit an article or a travel story, please contact:

Tripadvisor Reviews