To protect themselves from being sunburned, Myanmar men, women, and children smear their faces in fragrant Thanaka paste made from Thanaka tree bark.
Thanaka is a yellowish-white paste that is smeared on faces and arms. the creamy paste is made from ground up bark. It is worn to protect skin from burning and darkening in the sun. The fragrance closely resembles sandalwood.
Thanaka’s use can be traced as far back as 2000 years in Myanmar. The Myanmar people take pride in applying the paste in sometimes ornate designs on cheeks, foreheads, and arms.
Apart from cosmetic and sun blocking use, thanaka is believed to have antiseptic properties and able to cure acne.