Burma, Especially Its Children – Post 2: What’s the Yellow Stuff on Their Faces?

 

Bagan, Burma, Myanmar. Bagan Nyang Do Market.

 

Yangon, Burma, Myanmar. Wharf.

 

You can’t write about Burma without mentioning thanaka. Thanaka is a face paint worn primarily by women and children, including boys up until their teen years.

 

Yangon, Burma, Myanmar. Streets.

 

Bagan, Burma, Myanmar. West Pwa Saw School.

 

Thanaka is part sunscreen protection, part decoration, and part skin care. It is believed that it helps improve acne and to make skin smoother.

 

Mandalay, Burma, Myanmar. Street with Shops

 

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Thanaka gives a cooling sensation to the skin, which is helpful in the hot Burmese climate, and it has a smell similar to sandalwood.

 

Bagan, Burma, Myanmar. Bagan Nyang Do Market.

 

Bagan, Burma, Myanmar. West Pwa Saw School.

 

It is made by grinding up the wood from a specific tree or trees native to Burma and mixing with a small amount of water to make a paste.

 

Bagan, Burma, Myanmar. Bagan Nyang Do Market.

 

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Thanaka has been used in Burma for over 2,000 years. Its use is now spreading to Thailand.

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