Integumentary System Physiology the Integumentary essay

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The second remedy is that the glands under the skin secrete sweat onto the surface of the skin in order to increase heat loss by evaporation if the body is too hot. And thirdly the capillaries near the surface can open when the body needs to cool off and close when it needs to conserve heat (The Integumentary System, 2008).

The skin plays a very important role in regards to a person's sense of touch. The nervous system depends on neurons that are embedded in the skin to sense what's happening in the outside world. It processes input from the senses and initiates actions based on those inputs. The integumentary system also contributes to a number of different physiological processes; especially those that are involved in the regulation of the body's internal environment so that it can remain stable (The Integumentary System, 2008).

As people get older many changes take place within the integumentary system. The epidermis gets thinner as basal cells divide less over time. The dermis also thins and its elasticity decreases. This causes the skin to become weak and start to sag and wrinkle. Melanocytes reduce their production of melanin which causes the skin to become pale and hair to turn white. Sebaceous glands also decrease their production of sebum which causes the skin to become dry. The blood flow to the skin is reduced and body temperature is not as well regulated as well. Lastly, the skin begins to take longer to repair itself after injury (The Integumentary System, 2009).

Even though there is no way to avoid the aging process of the skin, there are ways to reduce the effects on it. The loss of elasticity in the skin can be increased sunlight. The skin should always be protected from the Sun by the use of sunscreens and protective clothing. Sunburns are not good for the skin and should be avoided. This also helps to reduce the risk of skin cancer as well. There are many things that contribute to keeping the integumentary system operating at its best. These include having proper nutrition, drinking healthy amounts of quality water, getting adequate rest, exercising regularly and reducing stress. Although hair loss and graying are both controlled by genetics, stress can speed up both conditions. Exercise and relaxation are both things that have been proven to reduce stress. It is important to proper cleanse the skin on a daily basis. Harsh detergents and scrubbing will not make the skin cleaner and in fact can injure the skin and cause excessive drying. It is recommended that the skin be cleaned with gentle soaps followed by the application of a moisturizer to all areas of the body (The Integumentary System, 2009).

The skin is not only the largest organ of the body, but also forms a living, natural barrier, and is the feature of ourselves that is first presented to the world. A large proportion of the population suffers from skin disease, and dermatological conditions make up about 10% of all visits that people make to the doctor (Chadha, 2009). Unlike other systems in the body, the integumentary system quickly shows when it is troubled by an aliment or problem. There are over one thousand different aliments that can have an affect on the skin. The most common skin disorders include those that are caused by allergies or infections. Burns and skin cancers are more dangerous afflictions that can occur and in some cases can be lethal (The Integumentary System, 2009).

The Integumentary System is a very important system to the human body. Not only does it protect us from injury and infection but it holds all of the other organs inside that we need to survive. Many people take their skin for granted but it should be taken care of on a regular basis because it provides the human body with so many vital things. Without it the human body could not exist.


Chadha, Ash. (2009). Assessing the skin. Practice Nurse. 38(7), p43-48.

Morse, Joanne K. (2002). Thin Skin? Clinical Research & Regulatory Affairs. 19(4), p413.

The Integumentary System. (2008). Retrieved December 8, 2009, from Science Net Links Web


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