Purpose: To develop a sub-domain perturbation technique to efficiently calculate strong skin and proximity effects in conductors within frequency and time domain finite element (FE) analyses. Design/methodology/approach: A reference eddy current FE problem is first solved by considering perfect conductors. This is done via appropriate boundary conditions on the conductors. Next the solution of the reference problem gives the source for eddy current FE perturbation sub-problems in each conductor then considered with a finite conductivity. Each of these problems requires an appropriate volume mesh of the associated conductor and its surrounding region. Findings: The skin and proximity effects in both active and passive conductors can be accurately determined in a wide frequency range, allowing for precise losses calculations in inductors as well as in ex- ternal conducting pieces. Originality/value: The developed method allows to accurately determine the current density distributions and ensuing losses in conductors of any shape, not only in the frequency domain but also in the time domain. Therefore it extends the domain of validity and applicability of impedance-type boundary condition techniques. It also offers an original way to uncouple FE regions; what allows the solution process to be lightened, as well as efficient parameterized analyses on the signal form and the conductor characteristics.