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The integumentary system is everything covering the outside of our bodies. This 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
Skin, hair, scales, feathers and nails make up the integumentary system.
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)
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
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
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.
- Kardong, Kenneth V. (1998). Vertebrates: Comparative Anatomy, Function, Evolution (second edition ed.). USA: McGraw-Hill. pp. 747 pp..