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Before my fellow fashionistas get too excited, this is ESKATA with a K and a T, not ESCADA with a C and a D…ESKATA is the first and only FDA-approved topical treatment that can treat raised SKs – doc shorthand for seborrheic keratoses. For those of you who are not familiar, raised SKs are those irregular unsightly-looking growths that can be pigmented or skin color and can show up on the face, arms, legs, or anywhere.
Seborrheic keratosis (SK) is the very common skin condition you probably never heard of, but dermatologists see them just about every day. Although the lesions are mostly benign, they can be unsightly. They can flat or raised and dark or the color of your skin. Historically, the most common treatments are surgical; cryosurgery and electrocautery. These have been effective but can also sometimes leave scarring and skin lightening or discoloration. Darker skin types can be harder to treat and have a higher risk of side effects.
Enter ESKATA from Aclaris Therapeutics. This recently FDA approved drug is a 40% hydrogen peroxide topical formulation that has revolutionized how SK lesions are treated and greatly improved the results cosmetically.
So, here’s how it works. I went to see New York City dermatologist Marina Peredo. After examining me closely from head to toe, she found a pigmented SK on my left cheek and a cluster of flesh colored raised SKs on my left ankle. Not too bad she said, but I was pleased to have an easy way to get rid of them. Fortunately for me, I am pretty low on the Fitzpatrick skin type scale (about a II). She very carefully started to apply the ESKATA treatment with the tip of the pen-like applicator. On a pain scale of 1-10 with 10 being excruciating, this was about a 2. She did 4 passes and waited one minute in between. The whole treatment took less than 20 minutes from start to finish, probably because we were chatting through it all.
Dr. Peredo told me to expect the area that she treated to be white and crust due to the high concentration of hydrogen peroxide. I started wearing a little dab of camouflage makeup the next day. Oxygenetix is ideal for this purpose as it speeds the healing process and provides full coverage. SPF is an important next step to avoid hyperpigmentation.
In my case, one quick and easy treatment was all I needed, but I watched Dr. Peredo treat another patient right after me for her second session as she had clusters of different sized SKs across her upper face. She was totally thrilled with her results and had a dramatic improvement.
According to Dr. Peredo, “I’m very excited to be able to offer patients with raised seborrheic keratosis this new innovative treatment option using ESKATA. This topical application of 40% hydrogen peroxide is an excellent treatment option for patients who have visible SKs on the face, neck and chest. The real beauty of this treatment is that it is practically painless, fast, and affordable. It can be done year round, even during the summer months, and is safe for patients with darker skin tones, which represents a quantum leap over other options.”
The ESKATA treatment ranges from $400 – 900 and in some cases, more than one session may be required.
Leslie Baumann, MD, a dermatologist and researcher in Miami, FL, says, “Not only are SK’s ugly, but the rough texture is gross. We see these on almost everyone in Miami because of sun exposure. They are so common that my patients refer to them as “Barnacles” because they grow so quickly. Barnacles grow on a boat that is left in the water and they are known to slow the boat down and makes it look old. In the past, I treated them with liquid nitrogen spray, but it would take 4- 6weeks for the scabs to go away- not a good look. With ESKATA, the downtime is much shorter- usually 1-2 weeks. I am thrilled to finally have an effective treatment to use on my patients that has a shorter downtime. “
NOTE: The ESKATA treatment was provided at no charge, opinions are my own.