Skin

Skin

Skin is the soft, outer covering in vertebrates. In mammals, it is the largest organ of the integumentary system made up of multiple layers of ectodermal tissue, and guards the underlying muscles, bones, ligaments and internal organs.

About Skin

Skin is the soft outer covering of vertebrates. Other animal coverings such as the arthropod exoskeleton or the seashell have different developmental origin, structure and chemical composition. The adjective cutaneous means 'of the skin' (from Latin cutis, skin). In mammals, the skin is the largest organ of the integumentary system made up of multiple layers of ectodermal tissue, and guards the underlying muscles, bones, ligaments and internal organs. Skin of a different nature exists in amphibians, reptiles, and birds. All mammals have some hair on their skin, even marine mammals which appear to be hairless. The skin is one of the most important parts of the body because it interfaces with the environment and is the first line of defense from external factors. For example, the skin plays a key role in protecting the body against pathogens and excessive water loss. Its other functions are insulation, temperature regulation, sensation, and the production of vitamin D folates.

Contributions by Jfdwolff, GraemeL, and Donald Albury.

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