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Safer skin lightener offered by Hawknad.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Hawknad Manufacturing Industries Inc. develops and markets a variety of skin care products, including antiaging agents, acne treatments, moisturizers, brighteners and skin lightening lotions and creams.

Globally, skin lighteners are a booming business that is projected to surpass $26 billion in annual sales by 2020, said Charles Dankwah, Hawknad's president. In the United States, however, sales of skin lighteners have been under pressure due to concerns about the safety of products featuring hydroquinone, a skin-bleaching agent the Food and Drug Administration is evaluating as a possible carcinogen.

Those concerns prompted Dankwah to undertake a research program that led to development of a hydroquinone-free alternative that Hawknad markets under its Clear-N-Smooth brand and that Dankwah said achieves results comparable to those delivered by the suspected agent without exposing users to its risks.

"In the United States, consumers are increasingly looking for natural products, safer cosmetic products and products that do not contain controversial ingredients," Dankwah said in an email. "Unfortunately, the brick-and-mortar stores have been reluctant to replace the well-known hydroquinone products on their shelves with lesser-known hydroquinone-free skin lightening products. Meanwhile, there is a flood of hydroquinone-free skin lightening products on"

Dermatologists in the United States can prescribe creams or lotions containing up to 4% hydroquinone for patients with skin conditions. Some products approved for over-the-counter sales contain 1.5% to 2% hydroquinone. These creams partially block a chemical reaction in the skin that produces melanin, a natural pigment that absorbs light and is the primary determinant of skin color. In addition to inhibiting melanin production, hydroquinone can remove the top layer of skin--and the body's first line of defense against infections and the sun's ultraviolet light. Hydroquinone has been linked to cancer in rodents, the FDA said.

"Skin lightening is practiced by consumers of all skin types," Dankwah said. "Caucasians use skin lightening products to address uneven skin tone problems such as age spots, sun spots and dull complexion. When Asians use skin lightening creams, their complexion tends to be whiter. In the Asian culture, a whiter complexion is associated with a higher social status because it indicates that person does not work in the field. There is, therefore, a huge demand for skin lightening creams in Asia and among the Asian populations in North America. Blacks and Hispanics use skin lightening creams to address dull complexion, uneven skin tone and acne scars."

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Date:May 1, 2017
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