The Integumentary System
The Integumentary System, consisting of the skin, hair and nails, act as a barrier to protect the body from the outside world. It also has several other functions in the body. The word INTEGUMENT comes from a Latin word that means to cover. The most important function of the integumentary system is protection. This system 1) serves as a barrier against infection and injury, 2) helps to regulate and maintain body temperature, 3) removes waste products from the body, 4) provides protection against the sun's ultraviolet radiation, and 5) produces vitamin D for the body.
The skin is a protective covering, also the largest organ in our body. It is composed of an epidermis and a dermis separated by a basement membrane. A subcutaneous layer, not part of the skin, lies beneath the dermis. The skin houses several different types of glands such as sweat glands, sebaceous glands, and apocrine glands.
Nails are protective covers on the ends of fingers and toes. They are produced by epidermal cells that undergo keratinization.
Hair occurs in nearly all regions of the skin. Each hair develops from epidermal cells at the base of a tube like hair follicle. As newly formed cells develop and grow, older cells are pushed toward the surface to undergo keratinization. A bundle of smooth muscle cells and one or more sebaceous glands are attached to each hair
As stated, the integumentary system serves several different purposes in our body. It is a very vital system and it is needed for protection and stabilization inside and outside of the human body.
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