Why are seborrheic keratoses, also known as SKs, so annoying? SKs, which usually pop up in our 30s and 40s, are an incredibly common concern among men and women. As they appear across a person’s face, neck, chest and back, they can show up in embarrassing spots and in areas where they make daily life downright uncomfortable by rubbing on clothes.
According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 83 million Americans have SKs. Until now, the only way to treat them was with procedures that involved scraping, freezing or burning them off – all methods that came with some risks of scarring or hypopigmentation.
Thankfully, the FDA has approved Eskata, a new treatment for SKs. Eskata is the first and only FDA-approved topical for raised SKs that can be applied in a doctor or dermatologist’s office.
What is Eskata?
“Eskata is a 40 percent hydrogen peroxide solution in a pen-like device that contains an absorbent brush tip which soaks up the solution for delivery onto the skin,” says Dr. Michele Green, a New York dermatologist. “The treatment is administered with four passes over the SK.”
Your doctor will need to identify your mark as a benign SK and not a cancerous growth before treatment. SKs are usually tan, dark brown or black, and have a waxy or wart-like appearance. Once your doctor has determined that it is a raised SK ideal for Eskata, they can proceed with the in-office topical treatment.
What are the benefits and downsides to Eskata?
The benefits of Eskata are clear, especially for people seeking a faster, easier, better method to treat SKs. The procedure is done in-office with little downtime, and since it is a liquid application targeted to the spot, there is less chance of permanent skin damage.
Dr. Green says that some patients may experience “slight burning which wears off within a few minutes of treatment.” Side effects during the healing process may include some swelling, redness and crusting at the treatment site. To heal, patients need only wear a bandage to protect the treated area from irritation and sun exposure.
One session might be all it takes, but if the SK doesn’t disappear after three weeks to three months, another treatment session may be necessary. Once fully treated, the SKs should not reappear.
Eskata’s parent company, Aclaris Therapeutics, reports in its clinical studies that 18 percent of patients experienced clearance of three out of four of their raised SKs treated when evaluated after 106 days. Almost all patients in their studies received two treatments.
Some doctors and dermatologists have noted that most people in the trials had lighter skin tones, so people with darker skin tones should ask their doctor or dermatologist if the treatment is appropriate for them.
Costs will vary by your geographic location, doctor and individual case. Insurance does not cover Eskata.