The integumentary system is everything covering the outside of an animal's body. This account is written mostly with people in mind, but it applies more widely.
The integument means skin, hair, scales, nails, sweat glands and their products (sweat and mucus). The name comes from the Latin integumentum, which means 'a covering'.
The integumentary system[change | change source]
Skin, hair, scales, feathers and nails make up the integumentary system.
Skin[change | change source]
There are two layers of skin:
- Epidermis - This is the top layer of the skin and is made of dead cells. The cells are shed all the time, but new ones are always being made, so people never lose any skin. It has sweat pores.
- Dermis - This is the second layer of skin. It has touch receptors, and oil and sweat glands. It makes skin stretchy.
- Subcutaneous tissue (The subcutaneous tissue is not part of the skin, but it is in the integumentary system)
Glands[change | change source]
There are four types of glands
- Sweat glands - make sweat to control temperature
- Sebaceous glands - make oil
- Ceruminous glands - make ear wax
- Mammary glands - make milk and are only in women
Functions[change | change source]
The integumentary system has lots of different functions. It:
- Protects the body’s internal organs
- Protects the body against bacteria
- Protects the body from dehydration
- Protects the body against sunburns
- Stores water, fat, and vitamin D
Problems[change | change source]
Here is a list of skin problems:
- Acne, when pimples form on the skin
- Sunburn, when UV radiation from the sun burns your skin
- Skin cancer, caused by getting too many sunburns.
There are other skin problems that are less common.
References[change | change source]
- Kardong, Kenneth V. 1998. Vertebrates: comparative anatomy, function, evolution. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-115356-X/0-697-28654-1
Other websites[change | change source]
- Aquatic Path Archived 2009-01-11 at the Wayback Machine Details of the integumentary system of the fathead minnow
- An article written for children