Lunch & Learn Webinar

Naturopathic Approaches to Eczema with Dr. Sanam Arora, ND

Guest Speaker:
Dr. Sanam Arora, ND

Dr. Danielle O' Connor, ND

Webinar Date and Time:
26/07/2023 12:00 pm

Eczema is a umbrella term for many similar skin conditions. These include, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dishydrotic eczema, nummular eczema, neurodermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis. However, eczema is usually referred to as atopic dermatitis which is a chronic condition that affects many children and some adults. Eczema is characterized by dry, red, itchy and flaky skin. Eczema weakens the skin barrier, making it more susceptible. Eczema is multifactorial meaning several factors contribute to the condition including, the immune system, digestion, sleep health, genetics, the environment and emotional triggers.

A Naturopathic approach can address many of these factors through lifestyle modifications, environmental modifications, dietary changes, supplements, and botanicals/herbs.

Dr. Sanam has treated many patients with Eczema using a holistic approach that addresses the underlying factors that contribute to this skin condition.


Q. What are the factors that contribute to eczema?

A. Eczema can affect children, teenagers and adults. And often at a very early age. It’s part of the atopic triad – allergies, asthma, and dermatitis. It can affect children, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get it as you get older. You can also get it as a teenager and as an adult. What makes this condition complicated is that it is very multifactorial.

A poor lifestyle can impact the prevalence and severity of eczema. For example, if you’re not sleeping well, you’re not giving your immune system a good chance to prevent or address it. If you’re not eating well and not drinking enough water, the same thing happens: your skin barrier will probably get compromised.

There are also environmental factors. For example, if your occupation requires you to work with many chemicals, there’s also a greater chance of developing skin irritation and, eventually, eczema. The soaps that we use at home, whether or not our water is hard water or soft water, using a showerhead filter, can all impact the chances of getting eczema, but also the severity of it.


Q. Are there any underlying causes of eczema that you can pinpoint?

A. As naturopaths, we thoroughly account for health history, past medical history and lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, sleep and stress. All these things can impact and influence symptoms and diseases. Once we get a thorough understanding of the patient’s concerns and conditions, we can then address each of these things individually and create a comprehensive and individualised treatment plan.


Q. From what you’ve seen in your practice, what are the common associations you see with eczema?

A. The bread and butter of how I treat is we focus on lifestyle and environmental changes first. And then we see how much of an impact it makes. Sometimes, for some people, that’s all it takes.

For example, if someone’s only sleeping five hours a night, and we can get them to sleep seven and a half to nine hours a night, sometimes that’s their solution. But then there are also trickier cases that require a bit more help. Those patients might require dietary modifications or supplements, like vitamin D, probiotics, healthy oils and omega-3 and omega-6.


Q. What are the typical naturopathic treatments for eczema?

A. Starting with diet, research shows that eating more fruits and vegetables daily can significantly decrease the chances of eczema and improve symptoms. Refined sugar and other inflammatory foods can also worsen eczema.

Drinking enough water is another thing. Hydration status will impact eczema because it is your skin barrier being compromised. One of the things that the skin and most of our body like is water – good, clean water.

The next part of it would be healthy oils. Flaxseed oil, for example, has some good research behind it in treating itchiness and redness and helping with skin hydration. So, not specifically eczema, but some of the different characteristics of eczema. And it can be used therapeutically as a tool.

I’ve seen many patients feel significantly better, and their skin looks better from some of these basic strategies.


Q. With lifestyle changes and supplements, how long does it usually take to see results?

A. Everyone’s skin is unique. Two recommendations given to two different patients may work very differently. And the amount of time it takes to see results will also vary. But generally, from my practice, we see positive change within a couple of weeks. It’s usually a fairly significant change after about a month or month and a half. However, there are always outliers. Some people’s bodies are very resistant to these treatments. In those cases, we have to dive deeper to see if anything else might compromise their road to improvement.


Q. If someone is already doing conventional medical treatment for their eczema, can you still help them with naturopathic treatment in conjunction?

A. I like to tell my patients to take the best of both worlds. Take the lifestyle and environmental modifications along with conventional medicine if it helps.

With eczema, if it gets severe, some patients should be given a corticosteroid. Often, when there’s a flare-up, corticosteroids are magical. They can bring down the level of inflammation, itchiness and redness. I don’t want to stop my patients from using conventional treatments because it’s about integration and collaborative care. Part of holistic care is using every option available, specifically catering to the patient’s needs.

Sometimes, patients are hesitant with corticosteroids because they may have heard something on TikTok or the news, and in those cases, there are other topicals that we can also recommend as naturopaths.

For example, this is something that I’ve been using a lot recently is baby care products. Baby care eczema products tend to work very well for the skin, even on adults. Often, these baby care products tend to have fewer chemicals in them. They tend to be much more gentle, but they still have colloidal oatmeal and other cooling agents to help inflamed skin. On the natural side, there are calendula and vitamin E creams that have been shown to be very helpful.


Final thoughts – Don’t give up. Even if you try something that doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean your eczema is permanent. This is where the skill of a naturopathic doctor comes in. I know that for myself, and most of us, we usually tell our patients that it does take time. We will have a list of things we want to try. But we want to go in an order. We want to give only a few things at a time because if something does work, we won’t know what it is. It’s important always to remember that there are many options.

And for a final tip – I often find that patients who wear looser and more natural clothing like cotton and clothing that doesn’t cause irritation or itchiness tend to see a quicker recovery in their eczema.

About Dr. Sanam

Dr. Sanam Arora, ND is dedicated to supporting his patients in an inclusive, empathetic and caring manner. Dr. Arora is passionate about evidence based natural medicine and using herbs and supplements to augment his patients’ health. Further, Dr. Arora strives to help his patients achieve their goals by educating and guiding them with their diet, lifestyle, and mindset.

Dr. Arora completed his undergraduate studies at Western University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology. Following his time at Western University, Dr. Arora attended the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM), where he received advanced training in Medical Nutrition, Medical Herbalism and Acupuncture.

During his time at CCNM, Dr. Arora worked at the Brampton Civic Hospital – Naturopathic Outpatient Clinic and the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic. As a result of his extensive training, Dr. Arora developed a keen interest in skin health, plant-based nutrition, anti-aging and gut health. In addition, Dr. Arora has advanced training in Cosmetic and Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture.

Dr. Arora is in good standing with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario and is a member of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors and the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors.

Outside of work, Dr. Arora enjoys keeping up with medical literature, reading fiction and non-fiction, practicing yoga, weight-lifting, meditating, playing various sports like basketball, golf, tennis, and soccer, watching Formula 1 and travelling.

If you have any questions or would like to know if Dr. Arora is a good fit for you, please do not hesitate to book a free 15 minute consultation.

Additional services offered:

  • Supplement consultations
  • Blood work
  • Functional testing
Dr. Danielle O' Connor, ND in Etobicoke - HealthBuddha

About Our Host

Dr. Danielle O' Connor, ND

Dr. Danielle has been a licensed Naturopathic Doctor for almost 20 years, practicing and living in the Halton region. She is deeply dedicated to helping her patients figure out the root cause of their health concerns and supporting them with foundational support like healthy eating, targeted supplementation, counselling, and lifestyle recommendations…  About Danielle O’ Connor