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Skin: The body's protection
Transcript of Skin: The body's protection
The exterior layer of the epidermis consists of about 25 to 30 layers of dead, flattened cells that are continually being shed.
Although dead, these cells still serve an important function as they contain a protein called keratin. Keratin helps protect the living cell layers underneath from exposure to bacteria, heat, and chemicals.
The inner layer of the epidermis contains living cells that continually divide to replace the dead cells. Some of these cells contain melanin, a pigment that colors the skin and helps protect the body cells from damage.
Structure and Function of the Integumentary System
Skin is the main organ of the integumentary system. It is composed of layers of the four types of body tissues: epithelial, connective, muscle, and nervous.
Skin: The body's protection
The epithelial tissue, found in the outer layer skin, functions to cover surfaces of the body.
Connective tissue, which consists of both tough and flexible protein fibers, serves as a sort of organic glue, holding your body together.
Muscle tissues interact with hairs on the skin to respond to stimuli, such as cold and fright.
Nervous tissue helps us detect external stimuli, such as pain or pressure.
The skin is a flexible and responsive organ. Skin is composed of two primary layers - the epidermis and the dermis.
Epidermis: The Outer Layer of Skin
Dermis: The Inner
Layer of Skin
The second and principal layer of the skin is the dermis. The dermis is the inner, thicker portion of the skin. The thickness of the dermis varies depending on the different part of the body.
The dermis also contains structures such as blood vessels, nerves, nerve endings, hair follicles, and sweat and oil glands.
Beneath the dermis, the skin is attached to underlying tissues by the subcutaneous layer, which consists of fat and connective tissue.
These fat deposits also help the body absorb impact, retain heat, and store food.
Hair, another structure of the integumentary system, grows out of narrow cavities in the dermis called hair follicles.
Functions of the Integumentary System
One function of the skin is to help maintain homeostasis by regulating your internal body temperature.
When your body temperature rises, the many small blood vessels in the dermis dilate, blood flow increases, and body heat is lost by radiation.
This mechanism works in reverse when you are chilled.
Another noticeable thing that happens to your skin as body heats up is that you become sweaty. Glands in the dermis produce sweat in response to an increase in body temperature. As sweat evaporates, water changes states from liquid to vapor and heat is lost.
The skin also functions as a sense organ, responding to sharp and hot objects.
Skin plays a role in producing essential vitamins. When your skin is exposed to UV light, your skin cells produce vitamin D.
Skin also serves as a protective layer to underlying tissue.