Just like skin care has a method, body care does, too.

You might think it’s weird for me to go over something so basic, but I’ve suffered from eczema my entire life. I can’t use certain products because my skin (at least on my neck down) is just entirely too sensitive. My skin looks and feels soft, but that’s because I have no other choice than to take meticulous care of it. Winter is coming, though, and I want to help you stop dry, itchy skin from ruining your cozy nights.

Before we get started, I want to say that on a typical night, I will only shower and moisturize. About once or twice a week, however, I add in exfoliating and shaving to that routine. I’m going to detail the latter today.

Once I get in the shower, I wait a few minutes to let my skin soften up before I exfoliate. My preferred method are exfoliating gloves because they’re cheap as hell (like under $5), environmentally friendly and available at pretty much any drugstore. I always add a little body wash to the glove and work from my neck down using straight up-and-down motions.

The best time to shave is after exfoliation. Not only is your skin its softest but, since you exfoliated, you removed the layer of dead skin on top, which will help to prevent razor burn and ingrown hairs. Schick Intuition Sensitive Care with moisturizing refills is the best razor I’ve ever used. I started with it in college for easy use in the tiny dorm showers, but it’s become something I can’t live without thanks to the shaving bars around the blades. (I haven’t used or bought shaving cream in 100 years.) I use a new, sharp blade every time I shave. If I try to re-use, I will get irritated. Just FYI, having any sort of skin condition sucks because I can’t do anything fast or easy or cheap, really. Intuition refills are pricey but I can usually get a good deal on Amazon in bulk. If you can use throw-away razors without ripping your skin off and/or causing massive irritation, more power to you.

After shaving, I wash my body. The only products I can use on my body are Dove Purely Pampering Shea Butter with Warm Vanilla Body Wash or Dove Sensitive Skin body wash.

Also, I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you need to wash your whole body. I’ve read disturbing rumblings on the internet from people who don’t think they “need” to wash their arms and legs. The trickle-down method doesn’t work, so please stop it with your nonsense.

I also go in with Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash as a spot treatment. Its 2% salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid, is powerful in keeping skin clear. If I have a body breakout, I will use it on my chest and back. I also like to run it over my legs, underarms and bikini line after shaving since BHA is known to help combat ingrown hairs.

After I get out of the shower, I pat dry with a (clean) towel. Then, I swipe hydrogen peroxide on a cotton round and run it over (completely dry) skin after shaving to stop razor burn. Next it’s time to moisturize.

As for lotion, Dove Cream Oil Intensive Body Lotion or Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Radiant Body Lotion are the only things that don’t irritate my skin. (CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is great, too, but I have long nails and prefer a pump-top to a jar.) I shower every night and moisturize every inch of my body after EVERY shower. No matter how tired I am, it’s non-negotiable to put on body lotion. My skin will freak out into dry, itchy patches if I don’t.

During the winter months, I also add some cortisone cream to my body lotion. Since it’s a steroid, prolonged use isn’t recommended, but as an eczema gal, it’s the only thing that calms down flare-ups and razor burn. (However, my very smart sister-in-law, Maria, uses baby lotion, and I’ve been thinking of trying that as well.)

That’s basically it. This routine is what works for ME, but it may not work the same for you. Hopefully, though, it will help lead you in the right direction.

I truly feel taking care of my skin all over helps me to feel calm and centered. When you’re smooth, soft and hydrated, you can rule the world.