How to treat Acne Scars (Post Inflammatory Erythema & Hyperpigmentation)

Pimples can be infuriating, but the aftermath from a breakout is even more frustrating to deal with. Acne scars are a common issue and many people tend to try different products in hopes of getting rid of them. Have you ever wondered why your acne scars aren’t disappearing? Maybe it’s because the wrong products are being used for the incorrect skin condition. Yes, there aren’t just acne scars! After a pimple heals, it’s common to suffer with acne scars, post inflammatory erythema, or hyperpigmentation. You may be confused about how these differentiate and how they can be treated, so we are here to help!

Acne Scars

Acne scars are depressions in the skin, which emerges when the tissues under the skin are damaged after acne breakouts. There are different types of scars that can become visible like boxcar, ice pick, and rolling scars. Acne scars are usually natural skin color and these scars can all be treated differently. 

Treating acne scars involves in-office treatments like subcision, fillers, ablative and non ablative laser resurfacing. 

Post Inflammatory Erythema

Post inflammatory erythema, also known as PIE, are red or pink stains that appear after a pimple heals. This is caused by inflammation and damaged capillaries under the skin from cystic acne. Those with lighter skin tones are more likely to have post inflammatory erythema; however, it can be treated. 

Treating post inflammatory erythema includes a skincare routine that can help fade the red or pink stains. The most effective way to get rid of the stains is to use Retinols, Azelaic Acid, and to see a dermatologist if there aren’t any improvements. 


Hyperpigmentation are the dark spots that appear on the skin after a pimple heals. They aren’t red or pink, which is why it’s different from post inflammatory erythema. Those with a darker skin tone are more likely to have hyperpigmentation because they carry more melanin than those with a lighter skin tone. The overproduction of melanin takes place after the skin heals then excess melanin discolors the skin causing dark spots. 

Treating hyperpigmentation also includes a skincare routine that can help fade the dark spots. The most effective way to fade hyperpigmentation is to focus on ingredients like Hydroquinone, Kojic Acid, Emblica, Bearberry, Arbutin, and Niacinamide. 

To learn and get more details about treating acne scars, post inflammatory erythema, or hyperpigmentation, watch Dr. Shirazi’s YouTube video below!