Integumentary System Facts for Kids and Adults

  • Comprising of the body hair, nails and skin, the integumentary system is one of the most important organ systems that not only ensures protection to all the other organs, bones, muscles and tissues in your body but also successfully accomplishes a variety of other functions.
  • Skin is, undoubtedly, the largest organ of the body that absorbs nutrients from the sun and other sources.
  • The contribution of integumentary system in the body’s homeostasis comes in the form of temperature regulation and the elimination of the waste products through sweat.
  • Owing to the very high turnover rate, an individual is likely to shed as much as 8 pounds of dead skin every year!
  • Did you ever realize that what you see on the body is actually the dead skin waiting to be shed, while everything else can be found beneath the surface?
  • Various types of cells, making up the epidermis, have their own jobs to accomplish and include Melanocytes, Langerhans cells, Merkel cells and keratinocytes.
  • Melanin is a dark-colored pigment, produced by the Melanocytes, that not only contributes towards the coloration of the skin but also saves it against the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiations.
  • A fibrous protein, keratin, serves to protect the skin and tissues against damage and also plays the role of a key structural material in hair and nails.
  • Regarding the structure of skin, it can be divided into three distinguishable parts or layers, namely, epidermis, dermis and hypodermis.
  • Dermis is the middle layer of skin that is considerably thick and is composed mainly of the connective tissues rich in elastin and collagen.
  • The major tasks assigned to dermis include the storage of water, temperature regulation, production of vitamin D, supply of blood to the epidermis and acting as a cushion for the body.
  • Composed mainly of the collagen-rich connective tissues and adipose or fatty tissues, hypodermis is the subcutaneous layer of your skin.
  • The conservation of body heat, storage of fatty substances and the separation of muscles from the skin are the jobs to be performed by the innermost layer of skin.
  • Meissner's corpuscles are the special receptors and free nerve endings in the skin that are concentrated in the places more sensitive to touch, such as your fingers.
  • Do you know what contributes to the goosebumps the reflex erection of the skin hair in response to the emotional stress, cold or the skin irritation? The simple answer is that there are small muscles in the skin, called arrector pili that cause goosebumps.
  • Each of your skin hair contains an arrector pili muscle that can be seen extending from the dermis and attaching to each hair follicle just above the bulb.
  • Hair shows sensitivity to touch, heat, air, and an emotional reaction, thus triggering the contraction of arrector pili muscles to such physical and emotional changes.
  • When there occurs the contraction of the arrector pili muscles, the hair associated with them stand on end a condition known as goosebumps.
  • Owing to the low rate of the permeability of the integumentary system, it is usually very hard for the things in the external environment to penetrate into your body.
  • It is one of the most amazing integumentary system facts that the skin is also known as your 'birthday suit'.
  • As the older and dead skin cells keep on shedding and the newer ones keep on taking their place, every month there emerges a whole new layer of skin on your body.
  • On average, the number of hair on an individual's head has been calculated to be approximately 120,000.
  • If you want to locate the thinnest part of the body skin, it can be found in the eyelids.
  • On average, one’s hair grows at the rate of 1 centimeter per month while nails usually grow at the rate of 0.5 per month.
  • The skin of an adult individual may measure as large as 21.5 square feet or 2 square meters in area.
  • The overall thickness of the skin is different at different places and usually varies between 0.5 mm to about 4 millimeter.
  • Concerning the weight of skin in a fully grown up human, it measures to be 5 kilogram or 11 pound.
  • The waste products excreted with sweat include salts and urea, where the later is a chemical compound of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen.
  • Do you know that in every single minute, you lose as many as thirty thousand to forty thousand dead skin cells?
  • The dead skin cells serve as a source of delicious food for the bed bugs!
  • Some biological researchers also regard the glands and nerves to be the parts of integumentary system, in addition to the nails, hair and skin.
  • "Calluses" is a medical condition which refers to the abnormal thickening of the epidermal layer of the skin.
  • The health researchers have discovered a large number of integumentary system diseases, and some of these are eczema, vitiligo, warts, psoriasis, acne, melanoma, and so on.
  • It is very surprising to note that there can be a delay of the whole 10 to 20 years between exposure to the harmful ultraviolet rays of sun and the ultimate development of skin cancer.
  • Quite amazingly, a very large number of bacteria are usually found in the sweat glands of a person, which range from 2 million to 5 million.
  • Every single strand of hair, on your body, may be containing up to 14 different kinds of elements, including traces of gold.
  • When wet, a healthy hair can stretch nearly thirty percent of its original length.
  • The anticipation of sex serves as a factor for the rapid growth of hair on your body.
  • Isn't it surprising to know that the groups of eco-friendly volunteers use human hair to clean up the oil spills? It is because your hair has the potential to absorb oil from water.
  • The annual gross product of the single head of hair has been measured to be about ten miles or sixteen kilometers.
  • The most common hair color is black, while about two percent of the total world population has blonde hair.

About the Author

Posted by: M. Isaac / Senior writer

A graduate in biological sciences and a PhD scholar (NCBA&E University, Lahore), M. Isaac combines his vast experience with a keen and critical eye to create practical and inherently engaging content on the human body. His background as a researcher and instructor at a secondary school enables him to best understand the needs of the beginner level learners and the amateur readers and educate them about how their body works, and how they can adopt a healthier lifestyle.

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