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(Scroll down for a list of skin indicators)

Integumentary System

Integument means a covering, therefore it is the skin, which consists of the corium or dermis (same thing) and the epidermis (epi = above). Another word for integumentary is cutaneous or dermis. So when you hear cutaneous, it is a reference to the skin and when you hear sub-cutaneous, it is a reference to below the skin. The integument system actually refers to the skin and its appendages, including the hair, fingernails and toenails.

The integument is actually one of the (if not THE) largest organ system of the body. The function of the integument is to protect you against injury and parasitic invasion. It's a Good way to keep the critters out! The integument also regulates the body temperature by insulation you with a layer of fat underneath and aids the body in elimination, thereby preventing dehydration. It is a reservoir for food and water. The integument is a sense organ for the cutaneous (skin) senses. And when it is exposed to sunlight, it is able to absorb Vitamin D.

Skin is actually our first piece of clothing (our birthday suit). It's like a raincoat for our internal organs, bones and tissues. It's a container, it's stretchy, soft, hairy, waterproof and it repairs itself.

Skin produces and creates all sorts of liquids. It manufactures waxes and oils that function to protect your body against germs and critters. Waxes and oils make your skin softer, but too much of a Good thing can also give you acne. The glands in your skin also make sweat in order to cool your body when it becomes overheated and the water evaporates. It is also an easy way to get rid of body chemicals when it needs to.

Your skin is made of several layers of flat, stacked cells. In these stacks you will find glands, hair follicles, nerves, blood vessels and sensory receptors. The older cells are continuously being sloughed off by new cells that grow from the bottom up. When the older cells get to the top, they get flatter and wider. They look just like tiles from the kitchen floor under a microscope. While you are active, they get rubbed and sloughed off. Activity is even important in the integumentary system.

The different colors of skin is possible because of pigmentation. The more melanin you have in your skin, the darker you are. The less melanin you have, the lighter your skin is. Depending on the amount of melanin in your skin, depends on how much or how little you will tan because the sun will cause more melanin to be manufactured. And just because the sun can manufacture more melanin in your skin does not mean that it is safe.

Your skin sends indicators or red flags to the surface of the skin to tell you that something is not quite right.


  • Every minute 30,000 - 40,000 dead skin cells fall off or are sloughed off your body.
  • In one month, your body will have a whole new layer of skin. An all new you every month!
  • An adult will have more than 20 square feet of skin.
  • You will shed about 40 pounds of skin during your lifetime.

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**This web site's goal is to provide you with information that may be useful in attaining optimal health. Nothing in it is meant as a prescription or as medical advice. You should check with your physician before implementing any changes in your exercise or lifestyle habits, especially if you have physical problems or are taking medications of any kind.