Face Mask Friday: Let’s talk Thanaka

This is a sponsored post, however the thoughts and opinions are all my own.

Usually I try out a different face mask each week, some because they are new to me and I want to try them out and others because they address a certain skin care issue I have at that moment. October is a little different. This month I am trying out the Healing Bark Golden Tree Bark Mask. I am using it daily for thirty days.

One of the reasons that I can do this is that the mask can be used daily rather than just one or two times a week. To be honest I really like taking an entire month with a mask and may do this again as I am finding that i am learning more about the mask when focusing on one rather than rotating through several. Also like every other item of skincare, a mask takes time to work. Results are very rarely immediate.

In addition to getting to know the mask on a daily basis, I am finding that I really like the scheduled masking time in each day. On Fridays I usually take a little time out to apply a face mask and relax a bit. I light a candle and listen to music while I let my thoughts drift. During the week, I tend to use this mask in the evening. Because of it, I have been taking off my makeup earlier and letting my skin breathe more, which I’m sure has helped. This is the end of the second solid week of using the Golden Tree Bark Mask and while last week I talked about playing around with the application process, this week I wanted to talk ingredients.

Bare skin makeup newly removed

Technically that word didn’t need to be plural. there is one ingredient in the Golden Tree Bark Mask and that is the dried and ground bark of the Thanaka Tree. That’s right, there is only one ingredient. This powder is turned into a paste by adding water to the mask in your house. I suggest using a deeper bowl to mix your mask as it takes quite a bit of stirring.

But why is the Thanaka Tree Bark a good thing to put on your face?

The ground bark has been used for centuries in places like Myanmar. When I went to look into it I came across this fantastic National geographic article that covers the history far better than I could and is a very good read besides. The wood is believed to be antibacterial. It soften skin and helps clear up rashes and blemishes. It also works as sunscreen.

There are three active ingredients contained in Thanaka bark; Coumarin, Arbutin and Marmesin.

Mask on and dried down

Lets look at Coumarin first. Coumarin is a colorless crystalline solid with a sweet odor resembling the scent of vanilla and a bitter taste. It is found in many plants, where it may serve as a chemical defense against predators. While I found many arguments against eating it in large quantities, it is a vegan ingredient that is used in heaps of cosmetics. It can cause some sensitivity. I have been using this mask every day for two weeks straight and have had no sensitivity issues. Basically this is the antioxidant part of the Thanaka bark.

I should also mention here that while many of the websites had cautions against overuse of Coumarin it was always as a specific ingredient, usually ingested, and most of the time seemed to be on it’s own. No one mentioned it as having issues inside the Thanaka bark or applied topically. I don’t know if that is a concentration issue or if it just isn’t a problem in the naturally occurring compound in the bark or simply that it is used topically. The only reason I mention it is that for those with sensitive skin you should definitely do a test patch before use as it may cause sensitivity. Oddly enough, this mask has helped with some of my sun sensitivity issues rather than causing me sensitivity, so it might not be an issue. But do a test patch just in case.

And maybe don’t eat your face masks, which is sort of a good general rule…

Arbutin is used to even skin tone and is actually used in a host of products all designed to lighten skin pigmentation and fight hyperpigmentation. There are both natural and synthetic versions and I counted at least fifty separate products that contained Arbutin in some form or another from brands like Paula’s Choice Radiance Skin Renewal Mask to GenOptics Aura Essence Skin Brightener from SK II and Skincuticals Discoloration Defense. It is simply a compound that helps to even skin tone and helps with hyperpigmentation.

mask freshly removed

Marmesin works as a sunscreen actually protecting the skin from UV rays. It also helps fight signs of aging. It also is a rich source of Vitamin E, I know that vitamin E is really good at softening scar tissue and helping the skin to heal, so I suspect that is probably helpful with the anti-aging elements of the product.

A lot of what i found out about the Thanaka tree I found HERE on a website dedicated to the tree and its properties. It isn’t associated with the brand in any way and is a very interesting read. Essentially the bark has been used a really long time to really good effect. That seems to be the general break down of the Thanaka bark.

Essentially this bark, dried, ground to a paste and applied to the skin has been used as a cosmetic, blemish treatment and sunscreen for about 2000 years, from what the various sources I looked at claimed. I’ve listed several in this article should you want to look up some more information. I actually went down a rabbit hole of research as I found a strain of Cancer research documentation.

As that seemed like a bit much for a face mask post, I left that off. It was a fascinating exploration though. While this is a one ingredient product, the three naturally occurring compounds in the wood make it an interesting blend that is much more complex than it first appears. While I have only been using this mask for two weeks at this point, I have noticed that the texture of my skin has improved quite a bit and when the nice days tempt me out to spend a little more time outside than i planned, I haven’t suffered as much irritation to the skin. Typically I will get a little sun sensitive at the end of the summer as though even with sunblock my skin is just done with the sun. While there have been many days whether weather kept me in the house, on the days it didn’t I extended my time outside. And my skin hasn’t been suffering for it.

At two weeks into my month Long trial I am about half way through the container of The Golden Tree Bark Mask sent to me by Healing Bark. So I’m guessing the mask will last just until the end of the month. Each jar retails for $14.99. In general $14.99 is a really good price for a facemask. Considering that it is all product and you just add your own water to mix up the amount you need, I think that is a great deal. while i have seen some improvement in my skin texture and am really beginning to snjoy the ritual of the evening face mask, I have not done a side by side comparison of photos yet. All of the photos are from today’s making. I am not looking at the first day’s masking photos until the end because I want ti to be a surprise. I am really rooting for visible improvement though. Right now i am happy with the improved texture, fewer blemishes and lessened sun sensitivity. But I still can’t wait to see the final pictures.

For now I am happy with this mask and more than happy to continue wearing it for another two weeks to see how thirty days with a face mask turns out.

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