04 Jan, 2023
Study Guides

Anatomy of the Integumentary system


What is the integumentary system? The integumentary system is the body’s largest organ and consists of the skin, hair, nails, and glands. It serves several important functions, including protecting the internal body from external damage, regulating body temperature, and storing fat and water.

Structure of the Skin

The skin is composed of three layers: the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous layer (hypodermis). 

  • The epidermis is the outermost layer and is made up of dead skin cells that are continually replaced by new cells. 
  • The dermis is the middle layer and contains blood vessels, nerve endings, sweat glands, and hair follicles. 
  • The hypodermis, or subcutaneous layer, is the innermost layer and is made up of fat and connective tissue.

Functions of the Skin

The skin serves several important functions, including protecting the body from external damage, such as cuts, bruises, and infections. It also helps to regulate body temperature through sweat glands and blood vessels, and it stores fat and water to help maintain hydration. If you do not have fluid to support the cardiovascular system, the skin will use the fluid it will donate to the blood vessels to support the body.

Hair and Nails

The hair and nails are also part of the integumentary system. Hair is made up of keratin, a protein that gives it strength and durability. Hair grows from hair follicles in the dermis and serves several functions, including providing insulation, protecting the scalp from UV radiation, and helping to regulate body temperature. Nails are made up of a protein called keratin and grow from nail matrix cells in the nail bed. They help to protect the fingertips and toes and can also indicate overall health.

Glands of the Skin

The skin contains several types of glands, including sweat glands, sebaceous glands, and ceruminous glands. Sweat glands produce sweat, which helps to regulate body temperature. Sebaceous glands produce oil, or sebum, which helps to keep the skin and hair moisturized. Ceruminous glands produce earwax, or cerumen, which helps to keep the ears clean and healthy. There are genetic factors that go into earwax production, and wether you have soft or hard earwax.


By studying the integumentary system, you will be able to see different tones of the skin and understand what is happening and why it is happening. While there is not a shortage of resources or guides to these things all over the internet, the list above is very concise and to the point over the main idea for this system. If you’re interested in additional resources, we have a brief study guide for all the main systems available for free, with even more available if you subscribe and create a paid account today