With the start of the school summer holidays, there’s no better time to get into good skin care habits to help protect you and your family’s health.

A recent study from Cancer Research revealed that the number of people in the South West being diagnosed with skin cancer has almost doubled in the last 20 years.

Whilst this figure may seem startling, this shows that more people are getting their skin checked by GPs which means early diagnosis and more successful treatments.

Over exposure of skin to sunlight is the main cause of skin cancer.

Anyone can develop skin cancer but people with fair skin that burns easily or who have lots of moles or freckles are more at risk.

If you spot any changes to your skin, such as any new moles or existing ones that have changed size, shape or colour seek professional advice from your GP.

There are plenty of ways to reduce your risk of getting skin cancer. The easiest and most successful methods are staying in the shade between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest, applying a sun screen with a minimum SPF 30 and a UVA circle logo of four or five stars and wearing protective clothing including a hat and UV protective sunglasses.

At Dorset HealthCare, the Community Dermatology Service aims to help with the early diagnosis and management of skin conditions in adults and children.

The service provides specialist clinical assessment, diagnosis, treatment and minor surgery for a wide range of skin conditions and complaints from eczema and acne to more severe conditions like skin cancer. People can be referred to the service through their local GP.

The team runs a number of clinics across Dorset, including Bournemouth, Poole, Bridport, Wareham and Wimborne. For more information please call the service on 01202 443719.