There is no research done to authentically prove thanaka powder has any serious side effects. In Myanmar people also has been using Thanaka as a skin treatment for a long time and the side effects have been relatively limited.
Some may argue that there are no side effects because it is rare to observe any if at all . However, the following are some of the prevalent possible side effects that can be experienced from Thanaka use.
The Indiana State Department of Health conducted a study on behalf of the Burmese refugee children in Indiana, reporting that the blood lead levels in these children were 10 times higher than the average for Indiana children of all ages tested in 2008. During the study, a persistent cluster of lead poisonings in Burmese refugee children was linked to Thanakha.
However, no conclusive evidence has been obtained to point out heavy metal such as lead contamination in Thanaka itself. The poisoning is reported to be due to using a lead based glaze on the pot used for processing Thanaka.
Thanaka is unique in that it is not meant to be subtle, to conceal flaws or to highlight features, as is the modern industrial cosmetic market. Thanaka preparation and application are not guided by fashion or trends. It is visible on millions of cheeks and foreheads of Burmese men and women throughout the country.
Makeup purchased from a store actually ruins your skin. Thanaka fixes it on the other hand. At least that’s what millions of Burmese believe. Aside from providing UV protection, it also prevents wrinkles and mosquito bites. In fact, a recent scientific study claims that its antibiotic properties can help fight acne.
There are specific trees that are used for the raw material for thanaka like Naringi crenulata and Limonia acidissima. The tree branches are sawed into hand-sized pieces. It takes hours to scrape away the thin layer of bark with small slate grinding stones. It looks like dry cornflour at the end of the process.
When mixed with water and applied with fingers or sticks to the skin, it creates a light golden crust. Younger users of thanaka tend to favor delicate leaf patterns. Older women, especially grandmothers, prefer broad patterns.
In conclusion, it is up to every individual to decide whether or not they are willing to take the risk to use thanaka. It is important that one should only use the yellow powder that comes from natural products, as synthetic and other chemicals in the powder may pose health risks.
You can try out 100% pure Thanaka powder from healing bark website. It comes from trees in Myanmar which are harvested from which the Thanaka Powder comes from.