Post-Inflammatory Erythema: Causes and Treatment

If you have melanin-rich skin, there is a good chance that you are one of the many people who struggle with post-inflammatory erythema (PIE). Fortunately, this common skin concern can be effectively treated with the right approach. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best ways to tackle PIE and restore your skin to its natural radiance. 

What is Post-Inflammatory Erythema?

Post-inflammatory erythema is a skin condition characterized by red or purple marks that appear on the skin after an inflammatory event, such as acne, eczema, or dermatitis. These marks occur when the small blood vessels beneath the skin’s surface become damaged or dilated, resulting in a persistent red or purple hue that can last for weeks, or even months.

post inflammatory erythema

PIE that is caused by acne breakouts is often called Post-Acne Erythema. This is essentially the same thing as PIE but its name specifies the origin of the skin condition.

Who is more prone to PIE?

Melanin, the pigment responsible for our skin color, plays a crucial role in determining how our skin reacts to inflammation. People with darker skin tone have a heightened inflammatory response, making them more prone to developing post-inflammatory erythema following a skin injury or other skin irritation. But people with lighter skin tones can have prominent signs of PIE marks, just due to the contrasts of their skin tone.

Furthermore, it is more likely that people with melanin-rich skin will develop Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) in addition to erythema.  PIH is a skin condition where the affected area becomes darker than the surrounding skin, due to increased melanin production. Both conditions result in an uneven skin tone, and this is not always a desirable outcome. 

Understanding the Difference Between PIE and PIH

It is essential to differentiate between post-inflammatory erythema (PIE) and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) in order to find the best suitable treatment and achieve quicker results. While both conditions result from inflammation, they have different underlying causes and appearances.

pie vs pih, difference between post-inflammatory erythema and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

PIE appears as red or purple marks on the skin due to damaged blood vessels, while PIH presents as dark brown or black spots resulting from excess melanin production in acne scars. Identifying the type of skin discoloration you are experiencing is crucial in determining the most effective treatment.

How to Manage and Treat Post-Inflammatory Erythema

There are multiple solutions available that can help you treat and fade post-inflammatory erythema. Several other approaches may help manage and treat post-inflammatory erythema:

Topical treatments

Products containing ingredients such as niacinamide, vitamin C, kojic acid, arbutin, licorice root extract, or azelaic acid can help soothe inflammation and reduce redness. We have created Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum, specifically formulated to target hyperpigmentation and PIE in melanin-rich skin. Formulated with encapsulated vitamin C, and ingredients for soothing redness and treating dark spots, Milk Marvel can help diminish the appearance of post-inflammatory erythema and promote even skin tone.

Sun protection

Sun exposure can exacerbate PIE and prolong the skin barrier healing process. Wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and seeking shade when outdoors can help protect your skin from further damage.

Gentle skincare

Adopting a gentle skincare routine can help prevent further irritation and inflammation. Use mild, fragrance-free cleansers and avoid harsh exfoliants or products with high alcohol content. Opt for soothing ingredients, such as glycerin and allantoin, that can help reduce redness and improve cell turnover. Avoid scrubbing the pink or red marks of PIE as it can exacerbate redness and prolong the healing process.

Professional advice:

If you are struggling with persistent PIE, consider consulting a dermatologist or esthetician who can recommend more targeted treatments, such as intense pulsed light therapy, laser treatment, topical medications or micro-needling.

Prevent post-inflammatory erythema

Preventing post-inflammatory erythema is just as important as treating it. Here are some preventative measures to consider:

1. Treat skin conditions promptly

Addressing all skin concerns, such as acne, eczema, or dermatitis in their early stages can help minimize the risk of developing PIE. Consult a dermatologist or healthcare professional for appropriate treatment recommendations tailored to your skin type and condition.

2. Avoid picking or squeezing acne

Picking at your skin or popping pimples can cause further irritation, increasing the chances of PIE. Resist the urge to touch your face and allow your skin to heal naturally.

3. Incorporate anti-inflammatory ingredients:

Look for skincare products containing ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties, such as green tea extract, aloe vera, or chamomile, to help soothe and calm the skin. In addition to many anti-inflamatory ingredients mentioned, Milk Marvel also has crambe abyssinica and glycerin. These both ingredients prevent water loss and draw moisture to deeper skin layers, which in turn helps to avert inflammation.

milk marvel, dark spot serum, milky serum for dark spots, post inflammatory erythema serum

4. Maintain a balanced diet:

Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet rich in antioxidants, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals can promote overall skin health and help reduce inflammation. Also, keeping skin hydrated is important for cell turnover which in turn can help with even skin tone and inflammation.

5. Manage stress:

High stress levels can trigger inflammation and exacerbate skin conditions. Engaging in stress-relieving activities such as yoga, meditation, or exercise in general, will help maintain a balanced lifestyle and support skin health.

When does post-inflammatory erythema fade?

After the initial appearance of post-inflammatory erythema, improvements in skin color and texture can be seen within a few days. However, in some cases, full resolution may take several weeks, or even months, depending on the severity of the condition.

Eadem’s Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum: A Game Changer for Melanin-Rich Skin

As we unlock the secrets to managing post-inflammatory erythema and achieving a more even skin tone, it’s essential to remember that the beauty of melanin-rich skin is unparalleled. Armed with knowledge, effective skincare products (like Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum), and a proactive approach to prevention, you can embark on a journey towards radiant, glowing and even skin tone that reflects your inner strength and resilience.

The Milk Marvel serum was formulated to even out skin appearance and tone, while remaining gentle to melanin-rich skin. Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, helps strengthen the skin’s barrier function and reduces inflammation, while arbutin and licorice root extract work together to inhibit melanin production and brighten the skin. Our brightening serum also contains antioxidant-rich ingredients, such as green tea extract and vitamin C to protect the skin from environmental stressors and support the healing process.

By incorporating Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum into your skincare routine, you can tackle PIE and hyperpigmentation head-on, revealing a more radiant and even complexion.

Want to find out more about PIH? Check out our articles on hyperpigmentation and ways to deal with dark spots

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