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Structure and Function

• Integumentary system is composed of the skin and
accessory structures (hair, hair follicles, nails, glands
& nerves)
• Functions of the integumentary system
– Protects the other body systems from injury and infection:
• Mechanical damage (cuts & bruises)
• Chemical damage (acids & bases)
• Thermal damage (heat & cold)
• Ultraviolet damage (sunlight)
• Defense against microorganisms

– Helps the body maintain homeostasis by regulating

temperature, retaining body fluids, and eliminating wastes
– Insulates and cushions deeper organs
Figure 9-1 Skin Structures
• The largest organ of the body
• 21 sq feet, 1.5 – 2 sq meters
• 4 kilograms, 9 pds, 7-15% of total body weight
• Varies in thickness from 1/50 inch (0.5 mm) in the
eyelids to 1/4 inch (6.3 mm) in the soles of the feet
• Changes in the skin often indicate the presence of
other body system disorders including anemia,
respiratory disorders, liver disorders, cancer, and
• Each inch of skin contains 15 ft of blood vessels
• The body sloughs off about 500 million cells a day; 1
½ pounds per year
Skin (cutaneous)
• The top layer is full of keratin and hardened
(cornified) to prevent water loss
• The rich capillary network and sweat glands help
regulate heat loss from surface
• It is a mini-excretory system- loses urea, water
and salts
• Manufactures proteins important to immunity and
synthesizes Vitamin A, D & K. (vit D synthesis
very important)
• Cutaneous sensory receptors
provide info about the
Layers of Skin
• Epidermis
- it is avascular
– Outermost layer of the skin that is composed of a
surface of dead cells with an underlying layer of living
cells; complete regeneration appox 35 days and is
derived from the stratum basale layer
– Made up of stratified squamous cells that are capable of
keratinizing (hard/tough)
– Melanocytes (pigment cells); increase in sun exposure
will cause these cells to produce more melanin
– Langerhans cells: macrophages that activate the
immune system
– Merkel cells: sensory nerve receptors
Copyright 2003 by Mosby, Inc. All
rights reserved.
Layers of Skin
• Dermis (corium or true skin)

– Called the “true” skin; the dermis contains the blood vessels
and nerves
– Dense Connective tissue; strong/flexible
– Collagen, elastin (stretch/recoil)
– Contains:
• Blood vessels and capillaries
• Lymphatic vessels
• Nerves
• Hair shafts and hair follicles
• Sensory receptors
• Sudorferous glands- sweat
• Sebaceous glands- oil
**The epidermis and dermis are firmly connected
but can be separated by friction
(blisters) Dense Connective tissue

Copyright 2003 by Mosby, Inc. All

rights reserved.
Layers of Skin
• Subcutaneous- hypodermis
– Not skin
– Adipose and areolar connective tissue
– Stores fat
– Anchors skin to underlying structures (muscles)
– Allows skin to slide freely
– Shock absorber, insulator
– Thickens with weight gain
Types of Skin
• Thick skin- only on palms & soles
– Thick epidermis (.6-4.5mm) distinct stratum
lucidum & thick stratum corneum
– Lacks hair follicles & sebaceous glands
• Thin skin- covers most of the body
– Thin epidermis (.1-.15mm) lacks stratum
– Lacks epidermal ridges, fewer sweat glands &
sensory receptors
• Stretch marks- extreme stretching that
produces a silvery white scar
• Blister- separation of epidermal and dermal
layers by fluid filled pocket
• Flexure lines- skin markings; dermal folds
at or near a joint; deep creases

Copyright 2003 by Mosby, Inc. All

rights reserved.