Anatomy: Integumentary System

Our largest organ & waterproof barrier, our skin contains a variety of nerve endings that detect light touch, sustained pressure, cold, heat & pain. When receptors are stimulated, they create a series of nerve impulses we feel when the brain processes them.  Except for our lips, our palms and the soles of our feet, hairs big and small grow all over the surface of our bodies.

Parts Involved

  • Skin (epidermis, dermis, subcutaneous tissues)
  • Hair (follicle, shaft, erector muscle)
  • Nails (keratin)
  • Exocrine glands (sweat, sebaceous [oil-producing], mammary, ceruminous [earwax-producing])

Functions of the Integumentary System

  • Barrier from infection, injury, UV and dangerous temperature shifts
  • Sensory organ

Skinny Fun Facts

Our fingerprints are created months before birth.

We each shed about 40 lbs (18 kg) of skin in a lifetime.

An adult has about 5 million hairs (roughly the same number as a gorilla). Everywhere you get a goose bump, muscles are contracting around a hair follicle.

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