Come winter, do you turn into a walking, breathing scab?

Last year, I was leaving a trail of dead skin cells everywhere I went; easily trackable and very itchy, I visited the derm. She told me that on my arms alone, I exhibited five(!) types of eczema. After expensive lotions and prescriptions failed, I made a few unexpected changes that turned my situation around.

Eczema sufferers get trapped in a cycle of itch-scratch-lather-repeat but the truth is, the environment we live in can be just as big a factor as the things we put on our skin. So, if you’re tired of living in a foggy cloud of lotion, try some of my favourite eczema-calming methods.

1) Get a Humidifier

With the heat cranked inside and the outside air bitter-cold, your skin is going through a heck of a lot this season. Add some moisture back to your environment with a humidifier. You don’t have to break the bank on this, either; those $200 options are for suckers (of whom I’m super jealous). Adding a humidifier to my home gave me the quickest results in terms of calming the skin on my face. For the rest of my body…

2) Say ‘No’ to Showers

This is especially great news for lazy eczema ladies. When you shower with soap and hot water, you’re stripping your skin’s natural oils. Even if you lather up after the fact, that wonderful, nature sebum that your skin produces to protect itself has been washed down the drain. If you’re having a particularly itchy day, twist that hair into a braid, throw on a hat and walk away from that shower.

3) Take Your Oils Orally

We all know that topical oils are great for the skin, but taking a daily oral dose can be just as beneficial. Some people have great success with fish oil, but as an acne-prone person (who obviously won the skin lottery), I prefer borage seed oil. By adopting this routine and hydrating from the inside-out, you’ll notice a difference to your skin within a month or so.

4) Stay Away from Heat

When it’s minus 30 with windchill, it’s hard to comply to this rule. If you can resist the urge to hold hands with a space heater or snuggle up close to the fire, you’ll save yourself a lot of itch. If you absolutely can’t shake your chill, try a warm, hydrating bath. Put oatmeal, coconut oil and lavender (essential oil or dried buds) in a nylon sock or tea infuser, toss it in the tub and soak it all in.

5) Resolve to Stress Less

New Year’s resolutions are a bit played out by mid-January, but if you haven’t yet chosen one, make this your top pick for 2015. According to my derm, stress is the main culprit for most eczema flare-ups. The trick to avoiding chronic stress is to acknowledge everyday stress before it reaches an overwhelming level. Set up a stress ritual, such as having a cup of soothing herbal tea or taking ten long, deep breaths. Practice the ritual whenever you feel yourself getting overwhelmed.