Zanna Van Dijk: 5 Things I've Learnt From My Scar Journey

In January 2019 I went through emergency bowel surgery for a rare condition called cecal volvulus, this left me with multiple abdominal scars and months of recovery ahead of me. It was by far the biggest challenge I have ever faced in my life, but one I am so grateful for. It allowed me to connect with and respect my body more than ever before, and learn an awful lot about myself.

Here are five things I have learnt from my scar journey:

  1. Everyone has them
    As soon as I shared my scar on social media I was overwhelmed with the amount of support I received from fellow scar owners. I was being sent pictures of peoples scars with the story behind them and found myself able to connect with a whole new community online. Also, when I am out and about I have become more aware of other people who have scars and find myself seeing them everywhere, wondering what the story behind them is. If anything my scar has become a conversation starter, not something to be ashamed of.
  2. Don’t waste energy on disliking your scars
    I am very lucky that from the day I saw my scars I thought they were pretty epic. Ultimately, we cannot make our scars disappear so we might as well embrace them and see them as part of our story. I am proud of mine, they show my strength, they show what my body went through and they show how far I have come on the other side.
  3. Proper scar management is essential
    I got into a daily routine with my scar as soon as it was healed and sealed. I would do a twice daily massage with oil and then once dried, apply.KELO-COTE® silicone based scar treatment. I have stuck with this for over a year and the combination of massage and a silicone treatment has meant my scar has healed beautifully, it has faded well and has no hard lumps, bumps or internal tightness/pulling.
  4. Keep your scars out of the sun
    Scar tissue is extremely sensitive to the sun and soon after my surgery I accidentally exposed my scar to a little too much sunlight one day and immediately noticed it flare up. Since then I have been keeping my scar well and truly out of direct UV ray exposure, and then also using the KELO-COTE® UV silicone scar gel as an additional layer of protection.
  5. Healing is more than surface level
    I also supported my scar healing with a high protein plant focused diet, gentle movement of my body and lots of sleep. Basically, I took the best care of my body that I could to give myself the highest chance of optimal recovery, and it paid off.

I know it might sound a little crazy but I genuinely love my scars now and if I had the opportunity to remove them I wouldn’t, they’re part of my story and I wear them with pride.


This content was developed as a paid advertisement by Alliance Pharmaceuticals.

Surgical Scars

Information about scars caused by surgery.

Find out more