A Burmese girl wearing thanaka 01 Feb 2017
About this photo
A young Burmese girl decorates her face with thanaka, a tradition which started in Bagan, Myanmar over 2,000 years ago. Thanaka is ground bark, roots or wood from thanaka (Murraya sp.) or wood-apple trees (Limonia acidissima), which both grow in abundance throughout central Myanmar.
A circular slate slab with a channel around the rim (Kyauk Pyin) is used to grind the material with some added water to form a paste. Using the paste, which smells like sandalwood, circles, lines and leafs are drawn on women's faces and arms. They are traditional Burmese patterns used for cosmetic purposes but thanaka also has a cooling sensation and protects skin from sunburn. Thanaka helps reduce acne, promote smooth skin and has anti-fungal properties, too.
Decorate your face in the traditional Burmese way on Insight Guides’ Off the Beaten Track in Southern Myanmar trip.