Thanaka also spelt (thanakha) is a yellowish-white cosmetic paste made from ground bark. It is a distinctive feature of the culture of Burma, seen commonly applied to the face and sometimes the arms of women and girls, and is used to a lesser extent also by men and boys.The use of thanaka has also spread to neighboring countries including Thailand.
The wood of several trees may be used to produce thanaka cream; these trees grow abundantly in central Myanmar.
The two most popular are Shwebo thanaka from Sagaing Region and Shinmadaung thanaka from Magway Region. A more recent contender sold as a paste is Taunggyi Maukme thanaka from southern Shan State. Thanaka trees are perennials, and a tree must be at least 35 years old before it is considered mature enough to yield good-quality cuttings. Thanaka in its natural state is sold as small logs individually or in bundles, but nowadays also available as a paste or in powder form.
Thanaka cream is made by grinding the bark, wood, or roots[of a thanaka tree with a small amount water[on a circular stone slab called kyauk pyin] which has a channel round the rim for the water to drain into.