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Integumentary System


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Integumentary System
Skin Layers

Drawing of skin layers and cell types.

Don Bliss / National Cancer Institute
The integumentary system consists of the largest organ in the body, the skin. This extraordinary organ system protects the internal structures of the body from damage, prevents dehydration, stores fat and produces vitamins and hormones. It also helps to maintain homeostasis within the body by assisting in the regulation of body temperature and water balance. The integumentary system is the body's first line of defense against bacteria, viruses and other microbes. It also helps to provide protection from harmful ultraviolet radiation. The skin is a sensory organ in that it has receptors for detecting heat and cold, touch, pressure and pain. Components of the skin include hair, nails, sweat glands, oil glands, blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves and muscles. Concerning integumentary system anatomy, the skin is composed of a layer of epithelial tissue (epidermis) that is supported by a layer of connective tissue (dermis) and an underlying subcutaneous layer (hypodermis or subcutis).

Integumentary System: Skin Layers Overview

  • Epidermis - outermost layer of the skin composed of squamous cells. This layer is characterized into two distinct types: thick skin and thin skin.
  • Dermis - thickest layer of skin that lies beneath and supports the epidermis.
  • Hypodermis (Subcutis) - innermost layer of the skin that helps to insulate the body and cushion internal organs.
Next > Skin Layers: Epidermis
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