As the famous poem says, "Chill December brings the sleet, blazing fire and Christmas treat", but this time of year also bears with it a lot of rushing around and last-minute plans. And all of these things conspire to wreak havoc on our skin, even if we're normally health-conscious.
When you think about it, everything from creamy coffees and party cocktails to salty snacks and the weather outside at this time of year can have a drying effect on the complexion, which can get especially parched when we're also short of time to give a thought to rehydration. Add to that the dry air inside our centrally-heated homes and you've got a recipe for flakiness.
But when you've got a to-do list as long as your arm and time is slipping away, how can you prevent your skin turning into a catastrophe through neglect?
Fortunately, there are some easy tips you can follow that won't eat up precious time this festive season but will ensure your body stays hydrated - we've rounded up the best ones here.
Mix in some healthy snacks
December can become one big stodge-fest as you accept just one more mince pie and tuck into the turkey on the big day itself, but you can make a few simple snack swaps in the run-up to December 25th and on the non-party days in between to ensure your skin doesn't suffer.
For example, eat foods rich in omega-3 such as almonds and mackerel (the latter of which you could try for breakfast) rather than festive chocs and grab fruit whenever you can. If you get a spare evening, you might consider preparing and freezing fruit like bananas, strawberries and blueberries in ice cube trays. These can then be taken out and snacked on or warmed up and used as vitamin-rich compotes for dessert if you're feeling your puddings need to be healthier.
Drink more liquids
When it's freezing cold outside, it is difficult to take in as much water as you would in summer because the thought of cold liquids hitting your stomach can be too much. However, that doesn't mean giving in to drinking only coffee until spring comes and accepting the associated dehydration. Instead, swap your morning hot drink for a fruit tea or redbush, or even just warm water with lemon. You'll get your fix of warmth and your skin should stay bright, plus there will be an added benefit to your energy levels.
Pay attention to your bath and shower regime
There is a temptation in winter to undress as quickly as possible, take a quick dip in the scorching bath or shower and then redress at lightning speed to avoid the draughts that are inevitable in every bathroom (no matter how well-insulated). If you can though, avoid this and give your skin some TLC. Keep water lukewarm to prevent the lipid barrier being stripped from your body and rub in plenty of natural oil-rich moisturiser when you've patted your skin dry. You might also want to swap your usual soap for our excellent oatmeal variety, as this is a natural ingredient that's super-moisturising and protective too.
Use layers cleverly
In winter, it's best to put on a few thin layers of clothing than one thick one, as they create warm pockets of air. Find materials like Merino wool, fleece and silk rather than cotton, which will keep heat in and prevent you from sweating - moisture right next to your skin can cause chapping and irritation. Fingers can be especially prone to drying out at this time of year as we need to wash our hands a lot, so use moisturising products like our glycerin-rich handwashes - and always wear gloves or mittens. And if we do get snow and you're playing out in it with the family, add some latex gloves over the top of your warm woolly pair. It might look odd, but you won't get chilblains and cracked skin!
All of these things are quick and easy to do and should ensure you don't end up sore this winter. You'll also have a headstart on everyone else when it comes to getting your body ready for spring clothes and higher hemlines.