PIE vs. PIH: Which Is It? How Should You Treat It?

Post-inflammatory erythema (PIE) and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) are two types of skin discoloration that can occur after an inflammatory skin condition. While they may appear similar at first glance, there are some distinct differences between the two. 

Post-Inflammatory Erythema 

Post-Inflammatory Erythema

Post-inflammatory erythema (PIE) is a type of skin discoloration that occurs as a result of blood vessel damage in the skin. It appears as red or pink patches on the skin and is often seen after inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, or eczema. PIE occurs when the inflammatory response causes damage to the tiny blood vessels in the skin, leading to increased blood flow and resulting in a red or pink appearance. 

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation 

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is a type of skin discoloration that occurs as a result of excess melanin production in the skin. It appears as dark brown or black patches on the skin and is also often seen after inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, eczema, or psoriasis. PIH occurs when the inflammatory response triggers the production of excess melanin in the skin, which leads to the formation of dark spots. 

How Can You Tell Which Type You Have? 

The easiest way to tell whether you have PIE or PIH is by looking at the color of the affected skin. PIE appears as red or pink patches on the skin, while PIH appears as dark brown or black patches. If you have recently had an inflammatory skin condition and notice discoloration, it is important to pay attention to the color of the affected skin and seek medical advice if you are unsure about the type of discoloration you have. 

Treatment Options 

Treatment options for PIE and PIH differ depending on the type of discoloration. Here are some options: 

Post-Inflammatory Erythema Treatment

Topical Treatments: Topical treatments such as azelaic acid, niacinamide, or kojic acid can help reduce redness and improve skin tone. 

To speed up the fading process and prevent the red marks from becoming dark spots, Clearly’s team of skin experts developed Lighten Up Redness Rescue Cream. The cutting-edge formula is packed with antioxidant-rich plant stem cells to calm redness, nourish your skin, and gently stimulate renewal. In fact, 97% of users noticed faster healing of acne symptoms with their first bottle. 

Before & After Lighten Up

Laser Treatment: Lasers such as pulsed dye laser (PDL) can be used to target the blood vessels in the skin and reduce redness. 

Chemical Peels: Chemical peels containing glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or lactic acid can help reduce redness and improve skin texture. 

Sun Protection: Wearing sunscreen with a high SPF can help protect the skin from further damage and reduce redness. 

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation Treatment

Topical Treatments: Topical treatments such as hydroquinone, retinoids, or vitamin C can help reduce the appearance of dark spots. 

To reduce the appearance of your dark marks up to 4x faster, Dark Mark Defense Correction Gel can help. This potent gel was formulated by aestheticians and the top skin doctors to visibly fade dark marks and improve your skin tone. Apply it twice daily and use your sunscreen in the day to see results in just 8 weeks! 

Chemical Peels: Chemical peels containing glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or lactic acid can help reduce the appearance of dark spots. 

Microdermabrasion: Microdermabrasion involves using a device to exfoliate the skin, which can help reduce the appearance of dark spots. 

Sun Protection: Wearing sunscreen with a high SPF can help protect the skin from further damage and reduce the appearance of dark spots. 

It is important to note that treatment options for both PIE and PIH may take some time to work, and some treatments may not be suitable for everyone.

How to Prevent Post-Inflammatory Discoloration 

Be patient and let your skincare do its work. 

Avoid picking at, popping, or squeezing your pimples as this can increase the risk of scarring. It’s also best to start treating your acne before it has a chance to get worse.  

Of course, the best way to prevent acne scars is to prevent acne in the first place. This is why it is important to regularly flush out impurities from your pores so acne does not have a chance to form. 

Clear Out Clarifying Lotion is our best-seller and an acne community favorite. Packed with retinol and azelaic acid, it is clinically proven to flush out congestion, eliminate oils, and restore your skin texture without irritating or drying out your skin. Try it today and see clearer, healthier skin after 1 bottle. If you don’t, you can get your money back! 

If you have questions about your acne and acne scars, get in touch with us via Messenger chat or Instagram DM (@clearlybasics). We’re here to help!  

Disclaimer: This article should not be interpreted as personal medical advice. For medical-related matters, please consult your dermatologist.    

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See what others have to say about Clearly Basics.

Based on 26 reviews
Skin Type: Normal
Comments: Any ideas on how to get rid of brown skin damage
Skin defence

Marks of sun damage are still there they haven't faded much after using twice a day for 60 days. . I will continue until product is finished. I'm a bit disappointed

Skin Type: Combination

I am so happy that I stumbled upon clearly basics on instagram. I was skeptical at first but decided to give it a try and bought clear out clarifying lotion. It's been 2 months and my skin has improved a lot. I can see significant reduction in pores and acne.

Skin Type: Combination

After years of medication and products, I decided to try clearly basics. In just 6 weeks my skin has calmed and I am now able to treat scarring.

So glad to have found these products!

Finding products that helped to control my acne without irritating my sensitive skin has always been a huge challenge. The clearly basics products have been my saviour, I can't recommend them enough ☺️

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Excellent and actually works

I am so incredibly impressed with the TLC for pore minimising - it 💯 works and has transformed my skin.

I’m in my 50’s and always had hormonal flare ups with larger pores as I age - this is a game changer and have just reordered my 3rd bottle !


not bad but I thought the formula has changed since what it was previously (i had it maybe 2 years ago) and I found it less effective now

Skin Type: Combination
This is the stuff.

So, long time sufferer of acne. Started when I was 12 and I'm 28 now still battling it. I've tried all kinds of different things to try and get it under control and besides birth control, nothing has helped long term. I never want to take birth control ever again and I just happened upon this brand and decided well, why not try? To my amazement, it has helped more than anything else I've tried, I'd say it has improved my skin to the level it was at when I took BC. Of course I still get pimples every now and then, and tiny flare ups during PMS but my skin is nowhere near as bad as it used to be. I highly recommend this company. To those who are considering trying this out, be aware that during the first week or so your skin will go through a purge and your acne will appear to get worse at first. Stick with it! Once that phase is over is when your skin will begin improving. I do need to use it every night for it to be fully effective, but even when I do forget, the pimples don't get too out of control. I just can't say enough good things about this product. It has helped my confidence improve immensely and I definitely recommend trying it to those who have skin as finicky as mine.

Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry
The only moisturiser I trust

I am super sensitive and this is the only moisturiser that I trust honestly incredible.

Skin Type: Combination

I use this product and with the clear out and it has really helped my hormonal acne.

Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry
Here one day, gone the next!

After success with Clearly Basics for my acne scars, I stocked up with all of the active acne products to prepare myself for how angry my acne would get when going off hormonal birth control. I have tried and failed twice as my acne comes back so bad that I just start taking it again. This time I have been using clearly basics without fail every day (lighten up and clear out). I have had 3 pimples start to form and I use ‘Stop Spot’ and the next day instead of a much redder, much angrier pimple with a big white head - the pimple is gone! I have been very happy with this product. I’m one month down (typically when acne gets the worst) - let’s do this!

I love that these products are gentle on my daughter skin.

This skin care routine is the o lay one that has helped clear up my daughters skin.

My daughters skin is really starting to look better!

Skin Type: Oily
So far so good

Bought this for my daughter that has struggled with acne for years. She has seen improvement and less frequent breakouts.

Best moisturizer I have found!

Lighten Up Redness Rescue Cream
Veronica Ilenya Ranieri
Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry

Has changed my skin from acne pro to almost perfect 😍😍

Skin Type: Combination
Obsessed !!

Obsessed with this cleanser!! It left me feeling fresh and prevented break outs. It is incredible . Loved this product so much

My skin feels so soft after using this moisturiser!

My skin feels so soft after using this moisturiser!

Skin Type: Combination
Fresh and clean!

My face is filled with energy and feels so fresh and clean!

Skin Type: Normal
excellent item!

have been using this for years! so good for my skin :)

So Fresh pH Balancing Cleanser
Carmelinda Di Manno
Skin Type: Combination
Fresh Feeling

My skin feels so clean and still hydrated when I use this cleanser. It’s balancing and refreshing. My skin has responded really well to it and at times my skin can be sensitive. I highly recommend this product to anyone with relatively oily t-zone area

Skin Type: Combination
Very happy!

Love the texture, the minty scent and the lather.
I wish the bottles were a bit bigger HOWEVER they are just small enough to fly with.

Skin Type: Normal
Comments: The only thing I now need to use to keep my skin clear.
The holy grail for clearing hormonal acne.

This is the only product that I have needed to keep my skin clear since discovering it about 2 years ago, after suddenly developing cystic hormonal acne at the age of 25. I now only need to use it every second night, so it's incredibly affordable. It has also never irritated my sensitive skin and it has faded previous acne marks to truly clear my skin. After years of trying expensive supplements/products/harsh prescription creams, Clear Out was the only thing that gave me long-lasting results.

Skin Type: Oily
Clearly Basics is the only product that has helped my Adult Acne

I have always struggled with dehydrated acne prone skin. Every month like clockwork I would get a new breakout on my chin or cheek area. These included large cystic acne that by the time they came to a head would take me months to clear. With new breakouts each month this created more & more spots before the first could heal leaving more hyper pigmentation spots that never have time to clear. Clearly basics changed all that for me. It gave my skin a chance to heal and reduced the number of breakouts each month. When I do get a new breakout it resolves itself quickly with less scarring and redness. Now that the acne is under control the products are helping to eliminate the remaining hyper pigmentation spots left from years of acne. I have not been using the product for long but I will continuing relying on this product and look forward to the day I can happily look in the mirror at a smooth clear & even complexion some day soon.

Skin Type: Combination
Comments: Product consistency in terms of smoothness/coarseness/stickiness/ is sometimes a miss, don't believe it affects the result provided.
Great Combo

Have seen great improvements by using these 2 items concurrently, hard to fault and wil continue purchasing.

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