The answer is yes and no. Typical scars, like acne scars, surgery scars or c-section scars do not spread. Of course, if you gain weight, then it is merely the skin stretching rather than the scar actually spreading.
However, there is one type of scar that will spread beyond the bounds of the wound, and that is a keloid scar.
In the simplest of terms, keloid scars are scars that become enlarged because your body is producing too much collagen—and therefore, too much tissue—at the site of the wound. Typically, keloid scars become raised in a dome-shaped fashion and begin to expand beyond the original location of the wound. Keloid scars are usually pink, shiny, and tender to the touch.
Needless to say, developing keloid scars can be bizarre and frightening for those who have never experienced keloids before. The good news is that keloid scars are no more dangerous than other types of scar tissue. Some patients complain about them being more painful, but usually, they are just itchier as they heal. The bad news is that they are often more unsightly than other scars, leading patients to seek surgical methods or other solutions to try to shrink them or have them removed.
The Difference Between Scar Types
Though many people aren’t familiar with the lingo, there are several different types of scars out there. The first and most common type, of course, is a simple flat scar. If you cut your skin, you will normally heal quickly, with nothing but a pale white line on your skin to mark the spot where you had your wound. These scars can’t spread at all and don’t even become raised above the skin. In other words, they are the least invasive of all scars.
The second type of scar is called a hypertrophic scar. The word hypertrophic means “enlarged” or “excessive growth,” but unlike keloid scars, hypertrophic scars don’t spread beyond the wound. Instead, these scars may thicken and appear to be raised above the skin. Hypertrophic scars are typically redder and more visually obvious than flat scars.
There are other types of scars—including contracture scars, which actually tighten your skin, usually after a burn, and pitted scars, which can result from picking or itching at acne or chicken pox. Of all of the types of scars, keloid scars are unique in their ability to spread beyond the area of the original wound.
Have a question about your scar? Post a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.
Subscribe to Scars and Spots to get our posts delivered directly to your inbox!The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please speak to your doctor to treat any medical condition. Information on this site is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.