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Overview of the Integumentary (Skin) System

Author(s): Center for Educational Outreach, Baylor College of Medicine

Major Components of the System

The skin is composed of three layers: the epidermis, the dermis and a subcutaneous layer of fat. The epidermis is the outermost layer. It acts as an overall protective covering for the body. Also, hair and nails are derived from the epidermis. The dermis lies beneath the epidermis. It is embedded with blood vessels, nerves, and sebaceous and sweat glands. Subcutaneous tissue is a fatty layer located beneath the dermis. It acts to cushion muscles, bones, and internal organs from shock. Subcutaneous tissue also can also can act as an insulator and an energy source when needed.