Main Functions of Integumentary System
The integumentary system is a very important part of living. It consists of the skin and its accessory organs – hair, nails, sebaceous, or oil, glands, and the sudoriferous, or sweat, glands. Your skin alone weighs more than six pounds and covers more than three thousand square inches. The skin to me is considered customizable because you can alter it in many different ways. Many people pierce the skin on the ears, face, navel, and genitalia. They also tattoo their skin with permanent ink. The five main functions of the integumentary system are protection, regulation, sensory reception, absorption, and secretion. The first function of the integumentary system is protection.
The skin is the largest and heaviest in the body. In an average adult, the skin covers about 21.5 square feet and accounts for approximately seven percent of body weight, or about eleven pounds. The skin has two principal layers: the epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis is the thin, outer layer, and the dermis is the thick, inner layer. Beneath the dermis lies the subcutaneous layer or hypodermis, which is composed of adipose or fatty tissue. Although, not technically part of the skin, it does anchor the skin to the underlying muscles. The epidermis is made of stratified squamous epithelial tissue. Squamous cells are thin and flat like fish scales. Stratified simply means having two or more layers. The epidermis can be divided into four or five layers. Most important of these are the inner and outer layers. The inner or deepest cell layer is the only layer of the epidermis that receives nutrients. The cells of this layer called basal cells, are constantly dividing and creating new cells daily, which push the older cells toward the surface. Basal cells produce keratin, an extremely durable and water- resistant fibrous protein. Another type of cell found in the lower dermis is the melanocyte. Melanocytes produce melanin, a protein pigment that ranges in color from yellow to brown to black. The dermis, the second layer of skin lies between the epidermis and the subcutaneous layer. Hair, sweat glands, and sebaceous glands are all rooted in the dermis. Connective tissue forms the dermis. Bundles of elastic, and collagen fibrous blend into the connective tissue. These fibers provide the dermis strength and flexibility. The accessory structures of the integumentary system include hair, sweat and sebaceous glands. Epithelial membranes are composed of epithelial tissue and an underlying layer of specialized connective tissue. Roughly five million hairs cover the body of an average individual.
All in all, the integumentary system consists of the skin, hair, nails, glands, and nerves. Its main function is to act as a barrier to protect the body from the outside world. It also functions to retain body fluids, protect against disease, eliminate waste products, and regulate body temperature. In order to do these things, the integumentary system works with all the other systems of your body, each of which has a role to play in maintaining the internal conditions that a human body needs to function properly.