We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Components of the Integumentary System?

By Michael Smathers
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

When people think of systems of vital organs, they think of the internal systems, such as the circulatory, respiratory or digestive systems. The immune system may also come to mind, but there is another component to the body: the integumentary system. This bodily system consists of the parts that cover the outside of the body and acts as the first line of defense against foreign microorganisms. The components of the integumentary system are the skin, the hair and the nails. In other animals, this system includes parts such as scales or fur, but humans generally only have a light layer of body hair.

The skin is the largest organ of the body and acts as the outermost line of defense against bacteria and other foreign organisms. It also protects the body's core from sudden temperature changes. The skin contains nerve endings that alert the brain of sensations like heat, cold, pain and pressure. These nerve endings are more or less concentrated in different areas, which causes some parts of the body to be more sensitive to touch than others. Due to its additional functions for temperature maintenance, skin is one of the most important components of the integumentary system.

The majority of hair on humans grows from the scalp, though depending on the sex of the person, several other areas tend to have hair, such as the pubic region or the underarms, chest, arms and legs. The main purpose of scalp hair is to provide insulation for the head against heat and cold. Eyebrows catch sweat and divert it away from the eye; this was vital to survival in humanity's hunter-gatherer days. Smaller hairs, such as those in the nostrils and ears, catch dust and other particles to prevent infection. Limb hair serves mainly to keep the limbs warm even if there is a small amount of hair; the so-called "goosebumps" occur when the limb gets cold.

Nails are the smallest components of the integumentary system and serve less of a purpose than hair and skin. They grow on the tips of fingers and toes; their main function is to provide support and a method for grasping small objects that the fingers cannot handle. In addition, the fingernails contain sensory nerve endings that supplement the feeling of the fingertips; toenails serve the same function for the tips of toes. As the majority of people now wear shoes most of the time, however, this function isn't commonly thought to be as important.

Other components of the integumentary system include sweat glands and sebaceous glands. These create lubrication for the skin and hair. Sweat glands in particular remove heat from the interior of the body via evaporation; water has a high specific heat and carries the excess body heat with it.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.