What Is Post-Inflammatory Erythema (PIE) And How Is It Treated?

What Is Post-Inflammatory Erythema (PIE) And How Is It Treated?

When a zit appears on your face, it's probably the beginning of one problem after another. After treating severe active acne, you have to prepare yourself to deal with the acne marks. Finding the right solution to fade away the acne marks is considered the most frustrating part of the acne healing process. The main reason for the treatment failure of post-acne marks is that you misunderstand your skin condition and opt for the wrong solutions. Dermatologists explain that textural changes caused to your skin after acne infection are not always acne scars. Apart from Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) and acne scarring, Post-inflammatory erythema (PIE) is a type of inflammation that also affects your skin due to broken blood vessels underneath your skin. PIE refers to the pink or red spots leftover after inflammatory acne lesions.

If you've been terrified of the red spots left behind by acne, here's good news for you. Post-inflammatory erythema isn't a serious concern and can be managed easily and effectively.



Post-Inflammatory Erythema (PIE) vs. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)

PIE and PIH occur when an acne spot clears up. However, there is a lot of difference between PIE and PIH. Both skin conditions affect your skin in a totally different way. In Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) dark or brown spots appear on your face due to excessive melanin production. Whereas, PIE causes red or pink marks due to blood vessel damage underneath the skin. PIH affects people with dark skin tone while people with lighter skin tone are prone to PIE.

Topical treatments for PIE

In most cases, topical treatments have proven very effective to get rid of Post-Inflammatory Erythema.

  • Salicylic acid
  • Boswellia serrata resin Extract
  • Rice Bran Extract
  • Topical Vitamin C

Ways to get rid of Post-Inflammatory Erythema (PIE)

1. Salicylic acids

Salicylic acid is an oil-soluble beta-hydroxy acid derived from plant sources. Topical use of this ingredient has been found very effective to treat inflammatory conditions such as active acne and Post-Inflammatory Erythema. Salicylic acid penetrates deeper into congested pores to remove stubborn impurities which speed up acne healing. In addition, the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of BHA help to calm inflammation and redness.

2. Boswellia serrata resin Extract

A research study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences has demonstrated the anti-inflammatory properties of Boswellia serrata. Gum resin of Boswellia contains phytochemical compounds which have soothing and strong anti-inflammatory properties. That's why it is used in the formulation of acne products.


3. Rice Bran Extract

It is another important ingredient in acne treatment. Rice Bran Extract is a rich source of vitamins (B&E) and many essential fatty acids that promote the skin healing process for acne. Topical use of Rice Bran Extract is found to reduce acne symptoms such as redness, swelling, and irritation. Furthermore, this ingredient helps to keep your skin hydrated by retaining the moisture content.

4. Topical Vitamin C

According to the clinical studies, topical application of vitamin C has helped to reduce UVB-induced erythema. Also, vitamin C is an excellent skin ingredient for hyperpigmentation, dull complexion, and premature aging.

Medical treatments for PIE

Medical procedures such as laser and microneedling are becoming popular to treat Post-Inflammatory Erythema quickly. However, results of treatments entirely depend upon your skin health, procedural skills of dermatologists, and body's wound healing response. It is good to talk to your dermatologist to avoid any side effects later.

  • Laser
  • Microneedling

1. Laser

There are different types of laser treatments that are used by dermatologists to treat acne-induced Post-Inflammatory Erythema. These laser procedures help to eliminate broken blood vessels to reduce inflammation and redness. Intense Pulsed Light Therapy and Pulsed dye laser are considered the best laser treatments for PIE.

2. Microneedling

In micro-needling, a device with tiny needles is inserted into the surface of your skin to stimulate collagen production and skin regeneration. In order to see the results, you may need to get microneedling done several times.

Ways to prevent PIE

Important to remember that prevention is always better than treatment. There are several simple tips that can help you avoid post-inflammatory erythema that occur after an acne infection.

  • Don't squeeze your pimples
  • Treat acne early
  • Build up a good skin care routine
  • Sunscreens

1. Don't squeeze your pimples

Broken blood vessels cause post-inflammatory erythema. S0, when you pop or scratch your pimple, it ruptures the blood vessels underneath the skin which ultimately manifests into PIE. Popping pimples also increases the chances of developing acne scars. Try to resist the urge to pop pimples.

2. Treat acne early

Dermatologists explain that treating acne is much easier than treating acne aftermaths such as scars, PIE, and PIH. Look for topical ointments which have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties.

3. Build up a good skin care routine

Establishing a good anti-acne skin regimen is very essential when you have oily and acne-prone skin. Use a face cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen that target major acne-prone skin concerns like excess sebum production and clogged pores.

4. Sunscreens

When you are dealing with acne, you should provide good sun protection for your face. Many research studies have found that UV radiations can worsen inflammation and skin irritations in acne wounds. This finally results in PIH, PIE, and premature aging. Wearing a good broad-spectrum sunscreen having 50 SPF is very helpful to protect your sensitive skin from sun rays.

What Is Post-Inflammatory Erythema (PIE) And How Is It Treated?


Usually, Post-Inflammatory Erythema (PIE) is not a very difficult condition to manage. But if left untreated, it can persist for a few months or even longer durations. Thankfully, the use of topical products while taking precautionary measures can help you to resolve post-acne erythema quickly. Above mentioned tips will help you to understand how to take care of your beautifully unique skin. Once you start opting for the right acne ingredients, you will look more flawless and vibrant.


People with acne-prone skin are afraid of using moisturizers that it may worsen their breakouts. Contrary to popular belief, neglecting the moisturizer while taking acne treatment can leave your skin flaky, dry, and cracked. Look for non-comedogenic moisturizers with oil control properties to keep your skin nourished when treating acne problems.



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