For as long as I can remember I have always been intrigued with learning about other cultures, their natural remedies, and their beauty secrets. Personally, my father is African American and my mother is of Baloch / Arab decent and originally from Zanzibar Island, Tanzania. I am thankful to be able to have friends and family originally from countries all over the world. We all have so much to learn from one another. This is why I chose to create a blog series I call, Ancient Beauty Secrets from Around the World. Our first stop, Sudan. Let us get started!
Sudan in Arabic means, “Land of the Black”. It was the home of the great Kingdom of Kush in Nubia (N. Sudan and S. Egypt). Located in the northeast region of Africa, was once one of the largest countries in Africa. After politics and war ravaged in the land of Sudan the southern half of Sudan decided to split from the north. South Sudan was officially formed in July of 2011; it became the youngest nation in the world. In this blog, we will refer to North and South Sudan as simply “Sudan”.
Dukhan – Smoking Out
What is it?
Dukhan, which means smoke, is one of the most popular beauty treatments done in Sudan.
This traditional beauty treatment is usually given to a bride-to-be before marriage. The woman is first massaged with several types of aromatic oils; she then sits in a chair with a hole in it or just a stool, underneath a clay pot of burning acacia (talih) wood and sandalwood. The woman is covered only with a thick blanket, usually made out of wool. This treatment is sometimes performed twice a day for 40 days for a bride-to-be. The woman does not bathe during this period. During this time, a thick sooty layer is formed on the skin. On day 40, this layer is peeled and removed revealing beautiful glowing skin. The woman will have a lingering scent on her skin that stays on her for days.
After the marriage, women continue to get the dukhan treatment to detoxify their skin, keep their skin smooth, for the sweet musk smell, and to tighten the private area of a woman (especially after giving birth). Dukhan may also be used as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis or any joint pain you may have.
Dilka – Exfoliating Body Scrub
Dilka is a Sudanese body scrub that leaves the body soft and perfumed. It is made by mixing whole-wheat flour, tea made of cloves and mahleb cherry seed, and occasionally orange peel, into soft dough. Women may also add finely ground sandalwood powder or acacia wood powder. Traditionally the dilka dough is wrapped in a cloth and smoked with the dukhan treatment, this gives a nice fragrant scent and it preserves the dilka dough. Women typically use this body scrub at least twice a week. This scrub helps to remove dead skin, promotes blood circulation, and nourishes and re-hydrates the skin.
I hope you enjoyed this quick and intriguing read. If you plan to use some of these beauty regimens, remember to do more research and be careful. Are you from Sudan or have friends and family from there? Have you ever visited Sudan and performed any of these beauty regimens? We would love to hear from you.
Which country's beauty secrets would you like us to blog about next?
Leave a comment below or email us.
BBC World Africa. “South Sudan Country Profile.” (Accessed 1/30/19) https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14069082
Wikipedia. “Dukhan (traditional medicine).” (Accessed 1/29/19) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dukhan_(traditional_medicine)
Diab, Ola. “The Art of Beauty for Sudanese Women.” (Accessed 1/27/19) https://oladiab.com/2014/08/02/the-art-of-beauty-for-sudanese-women/
African Aromatics. “Sudan’s Aromatic Culture.” (Accessed 1/27/19) http://africanaromatics.com/sudans-aromatic-culture/
Camilia Z. Majette, MHSA
Camilia, Founder and CEO of Nailah's Shea, LLC is a mom, wife, global traveler, humanitarian, and entrepreneur. She loves to share her knowledge and passion about natural living and wellness with everyone she meets.