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Overview of the Integumentary (Skin) System

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


The epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin, is comprised of three different types of cells: keratinocytes, melanocytes, and langerhans cells. Keratinocytes synthesize keratin, a protein that is essential in the formation of hair, nails and the outer skin. Melanocytes produce a dark pigment, called melanin, that protects the skin by absorbing ultraviolet radiation. Melanin also is known to account for different colors of skin, hair and eyes. Langerhans cells intercept alien material in the skin and aid the immune system.