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Hyperpigmentation post-inflammatoire versus érythème post-inflammatoire.

Difference between Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation and Post-Inflammatory Erythema

These two occurrences can be attributed to acne breakouts but also to insect bites or even to various skin traumas. But how can we differentiate them? Let's focus.

What types of marks can appear following an injury or inflammation of the skin?

Following a skin trauma, the skin heals. This natural and life-saving process can result in various types of skin marks: the brown spots or pigmentation, the raised scars or keloids, the indented scars or craters, the white ball-like scars or perifollicular elastolysis, or the red coloured spots or erythematous spots. In this article, we are interested in the differences between the two types of spots mentioned above, namely post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation marks and post-inflammatory erythema.

Post-inflammatory Erythematous Marks versus Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation: What are the Differences?

Several aspects differ between these two types of brands.

  • The colour

    The post-inflammatory erythematous marks are red or rosy scars. Sometimes referred to as hyperpigmented scars, post-inflammatory hyperpigmented marks are a type of hyperpigmentation. They appear as persisting flat brown or black spots, depending on the skin colour.

  • The Persistence Over Time

    Unlike other types of scars, post-inflammatory erythematous marks persist for several months, but usually end up disappearing.

    Regarding post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation marks, a study conducted in 2016 specifies that these take time to fade, at least 1 year for more than half of the subjects surveyed and this can extend up to 5 years for some. The majority of patients also reported that this hyperpigmentation is as bothersome, if not more bothersome, than the acne itself.

  • The underlying biological cause

    The post-inflammatory erythematous marks are caused by the vasodilation of superficial skin vessels and are more visible on fair skin. Erythematous scars can cause discomfort, pain or feelings of unease.

    Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation marks are due to anincreased production of melaninin response to the inflammatory reaction in question. Indeed, the appearance of these hypercoloured areas is based on the production of inflammatory cytokines, which have pro-pigmenting properties, by the surrounding cells. They will activate the melanocytes (cells producing melanin), leading to a significant release of melanosomes (pigment granules) and thus the surplus of melanin.

Fruit acids, effective agents against both types of marks.

Cosmetic treatments based on acids (A.H.A., B.H.A. and P.H.A.) at low concentrations (up to 20%) can be used to diminish the appearance of erythematous scars and hyperpigmented marks. However, several applications at a regular pace will be necessary to achieve visible results. In this regard, you can use the exfoliating serum containing 10% glycolic acid or the gentle peeling serum based on lactic acid, more suitable for sensitive skin. The anti-mark serum specifically targets acne scars and is applied locally. It contains gluconolactone from the P.H.A. category and extract of Centella asiatica, an active ingredient known to help remodel the texture of marked skin.


  • BAD-CASINTAHAN F. & al. Frequency and characteristics of acne-related post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The  Journal of Dermatology (2016).

  • PLATSIDAKI E. & al. Chemical peels in active acne and acne scars. Clinics in Dermatology (2017).


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