As synonyms with Myanmar as the traditional Longyi attire, or the red drool from chewing Betelnut, you will also notice many faces adorned with Thanaka.
Generally used by women and children, Thanaka is a thick paste made from ground bark and roots. In the stifling Burmese heat, it’s cooling effect on the skin is quite pleasant.
It’s also used for aesthetic and cosmetic purposes and has been utilized in such a way by the Burmese people for some 2,000 years.
It’s widely considered to keep the skin hydrated and youthful as well as protecting it from sun damage.
Plenty of women will offer to put Thanaka on for you, although some use this as a chance to try and beg for money; It can also be purchased in just about any shop in Myanmar.
It’s usually applied in circular motions on the cheeks, forehead, and sometimes across the bridge of the nose. Some choose to shape the Thanaka to look like leaves, making patterns with their fingers or with wooden toothpicks.
It’s an anti-fungal and believed to get rid of acne, but on the downside, it can lighten the skin, which is not ideal for tourists trying to build up a tan!