2,000 Year Old Beauty Secret: Thanaka Bark Powder

2,000 Year Old Beauty Secret: Thanaka Bark Powder

Posted by Michele Zagorski on 6th Jul 2017

I'm always on the lookout for new ingredients to improve Zagorska products, and I'm excited to share one I came across that has literally been used for thousands of years, but is still mostly unknown in this country.  It's called thanaka; a finely ground powder made from the bark of a tree native to Burma, and traditionally used for its medicinal and beauty properties.

Beauty Blogger Chelcie Porter writes, "According to a 2010 study conducted by the University of London and Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, thanaka bark is highly anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and absorbs UV rays. The study also revealed that thanaka inhibits tryosinase, the enzyme that triggers melanin synthesis and affects skin discoloration–hence, even skintone!"  

The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology states, "Thanaka paste is used as an astringent, antiseptic, antifungal, anti-aging, cosmetic and sun protective product. In recent years, some of these properties, which have been assumed for hundreds of years, have been substantiated. Thanaka contains two active ingredients, coumarin and marmesin. Coumarin accounts for the anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, phytochemical, anti-aging and anti-oxidant properties. Wangthong and colleagues performed a series of studies on thanaka bark. Thanaka was found to be a good scavenger of free radicals.

Thanaka significantly reduced the release of nitric oxide, implying significant anti-inflammatory action. Another study showed coumarin increases collagen and elastin production in the skin, retarding the cutaneous aging process as well."

Traditionally, thanaka is made into a paste and applied to the skin, sometimes in beautiful designs or patterns.  The bark carries a subtle fragrance of flowers, as well. 

 I've reformulated my Serum du Soleil to include this wonder of nature for it's many benefits, but in an amount that is easily absorbed by the skin.  I am wowed by the resulting improvement in texture and absorbability from the addition of thanaka.  It is light as a feather and disappears immediately into the skin, but with enhanced protective properties!