Let’s take a deeper look into Skin Discolouration.

Exploring the differences between skin discolouration, more commonly described as the pinkish-red marks vs the dark brown coloured marks you see on your skin. These are the two different types of discolouration responses to inflammation/trauma in the skin. 

PIE vs PIH the secret skincare

Post Inflammatory Erythema (PIE) and Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) 

Reddish-pink marks that show up in the skin as a result of blood vessel damage within inflamed skin. Generally a result of picking breakouts.

Dark-brown spots that appear as a result of an overproduction of melanin in response to inflammation. This can be from where breakouts previously appeared, or can even come from other types of trauma such as burns, sun exposure, laser treatments etc.

Telling the difference…

If you're unsure, you can always try "The Pressure Test"

1. Apply light pressure on the area of discolouration
2. Take note of the colour change

If the skin changes colour temporarily, you are most likely experiencing PIE. The pressure from your touch constricts the blood vessels and causes the skin's discolouration to temporarily disappear.

If on the other hand, the colour remains, you're probably looking at a case of PIH.

What causes inflammation/trauma on the skin?

As mentioned, PIE is generally a result of picking breakouts. Inflammation is a result of skin trauma, which is worsened when you touch already inflamed breakouts. Not only does this increase inflammation, but it can spread bacteria and worsen breakouts. Ultimately, leading to more traumatised skin, with darker PIE as a result.

It can be the case that you still experience scarring or PIE, even if you don’t touch the breakout. This is because the inflammation is coming from beneath the skin's surface. Without additional trauma, the skin will be able to bounce back much quicker.

real result PIE with the secret skincare

PIH is a result of the over-production of melanin in response to inflammation.

Commonly, hyper-pigmentation is the result of sun exposure, and lack of sun protection. When your skin is exposed to sunlight with no sun protection, your skin cells become traumatised, resulting in PIH. Over time, this sun damage can be found in the lower layers of your skin, which can take time to come to the surface and treat.

Additional trauma to the skin such as laser treatment complications, can trigger an increased production of melanin, causing PIH. Speaking to your skin specialist before your treatment to follow precautions is always recommended.

real results of PIH with the secret skincare


Refer to the ingredients listed in the photo above! Our doctors utilise a combination of these throughout their formulations and will tailor their suggestions to meet your specific skin needs outlined in your consultation form.

Topical Treatments

Day Brightening Elixir Sensitive
Azelaic Acid, Niacinamide
After one course of treatment (4-5 months) swap to the Day Brightening Elixir.

Day Brightening Elixir
Vitamin C, Niacinamide

Cellular Repair Night Cream
Vitamin A/Retinoid works to increase cell turnover, bringing everything lying dormant to the surface (including pigment in the lower layers of the skin)
Vitamin C breaks down pigment sitting on the surface,
Hydroquinone, Ascorbic Acid, Retinoid

The best fix of all…

Prevention. A healthy lipid barrier will keep inflammation at bay and prevent any discolouration as a result.

Utilise barrier-strengthening ingredients such as Retinoids and Niacinamide, keep it hydrated with ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid and utilise antioxidants to protect it such as Vitamin C.

Struggling with PIE or PIH? Take our Skin Quiz to determine the best products for your skin.