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Post-Inflammation Erythematous; What It Is and What To Do About It?

By Oreoritse Tariemi
20 December 2021   |   7:36 pm
It is virtually impossible to get rid of acne overnight. Even if you had a surefire acne treatment, you’d still have a red mark where the acne once was. This red or pink mark is known as Post Inflammation Erythematous. Usually, it fades with time, but in some cases, especially if you cant get your…

It is virtually impossible to get rid of acne overnight.

Even if you had a surefire acne treatment, you’d still have a red mark where the acne once was. This red or pink mark is known as Post Inflammation Erythematous.

Usually, it fades with time, but in some cases, especially if you cant get your hands off your face, it may lead to scarring.

Post Inflammation Erythematous, also called PIE, may last up to two months if left untreated.

What is PIE, and how is it formed?

PIE is associated with pimples and zits, but any form of inflammation can leave a red mark.

Pimples form when the pores in your skin become inflamed and start to house bacteria. This bacteria triggers an immune response through inflammation.

This inflammation process is characterised by dilating blood vessels and increased blood supply to that tissue. This is responsible for the redness.

Any damage to the blood vessels (capillaries) that occurs at this point will cause a red or pink mark that may last up to 8 weeks.

Just as it is easier to spot a blush on a fair person, people with lighter skin shades are more likely to develop PIE for the same reasons.

PIE causes no apparent risk to health; it is only part of a healing process. However, those red marks can make you feel self-conscious and uncomfortable.

It is important to note that Post Inflammation Erythematous is different from the dark spots caused by skin conditions. These dark spots are called Post Inflammation Hyperpigmentation and follow another mechanism of action from PIE.

How to get rid of PIE

Skin discolourations of any type may be damaging to your self-esteem. These few tips and treatments will help those red marks fade faster.

What not to do

Don’t pick at it. If you’re trying to get rid of red spots, you should keep your hands off them. You may cause another pimple to erupt by infecting the site, or worse still, cause more severe scarring.

Don’t try to scrub it off. You’ll only end up getting your whole face red. Avoid mechanical scrubs such as sugar and salt scrubs. If this inflammation frequently happens to you, switch your physical exfoliant with a chemical one.

Makeup. It may be tempting to cover it all up with foundation, but that may worsen the redness in the long run. Your skin will need some time to heal, and it’s best you don’t feed it any oil or grease during this period. If you must use makeup, ensure that it is non-comedogenic. That is, it has been tested to see if it may worsen acne, and the results say it does not.

What to do

Always wear sunscreen- exposure to the sun is likely to worsen any kind of skin discolouration. Use sunscreen with SPF 50 or higher. It prevents your skin from ageing and gives it room for proper healing.

Vitamins- especially Vitamins A and C, applied topically. Vitamin C will balance your skin’s pigmentation, while vitamin A contains retinoids that encourages your turnover rate.

Tranexamic acid- this medication should be used with caution. It works by constricting blood vessels and reducing blood flow to the affected site. By doing this, the redness subsides. The topical medication is available over the counter, but seek the advice of a pharmacist before commencing, especially if you are prone to blood clots.

Antioxidants- these agents prevent overall ageing and scarring and make your skin look healthy. Some of these antioxidants are Nicotinamide, vitamin E, and other vitamins.

Azelaic acid- this topical medication has potent anti-inflammatory effects that will interrupt the inflammatory response responsible for the reddening of the skin. Start with lower concentrations first for better results.

Procedures that may be useful

Treating acne spots with a procedure may be expensive, but it works faster. Here are a few techniques that can eliminate PIE.

Laser therapy- this works by explicitly targeting the damaged skin cells and blood vessels and eliminating them. It may take a couple of sessions before you get clear skin. Laser therapy may be pulse dye therapy or pulsed light therapy. It is crucial to protect your eyes as the intense light energy may damage them during the procedure.

Microneedling- very similar to Laser in its strategic targeting of damaged cells, Microneedling involves poking the skin to stimulate the production of collagen. Collagen is needed for firm, ageless skin, and it will restore your skin to its original pigmentation.

Chemical peeling- this procedure aims to drastically increase the turnover rate of your skin cells. This procedure makes old skin fall off faster. By the time all of the old skin has peeled off, all the red marks will be gone with it. When coupled with the right treatments, chemical peeling can prevent severe scarring from acne.

Dermaplanning- dermaplanning takes a few layers off the top of your skin. It is effective for removing hairs and dirt. Regular dermaplanning improves skin tone and texture.


Post Inflammation Erythematous seems quite similar to Post Inflammation Hyperpigmentation. However, they are caused by different triggers, and their outcomes also differ.

PIE is caused by an inflammatory mediation response. The dilation of blood vessels causes blood to pool at a particular area, resulting in a red or pink mark. In some cases, the mark may even be purple.

PIH, on the other hand, is commonly seen in dark-skinned people and may manifest as a dark brown or grey patch. It is caused by over secretion of melanin at the site.


PIE is a red, pink or purple mark left behind by acne. It may fade on its own, but this may take a while. Topical treatments can make these spots fade faster.