The integumentary system consists of the skin and its derivatives; hair and nails. This system is the body's first line of defense against foreign invaders and protects against mechanical injury, infection (disease) and also prevents the inner organs from drying out by retaining body fluids. Your skin also plays an important role to eliminate waste products, regulate body temperature and protects the body from harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun, synthesize vitamin D, stores triglycerides for energy in adipose tissue, and is the largest sensory organ in your body.
The epidermis (outer layer of skin) slows the rate of moisture loss and also contains pigment producing cells that give your skin its color. These cells can also contribute to uneven skin tone and age spots, due to sun damage or genetic disorders. Your skin is continually renewing itself in 4 week cycles as newer skin cells rise to the surface and older cells are sloughed off (flaking skin). The dermis is the inner layer of the skin and is composed of elastin and collagen fibers. These fibers support and strengthen the skin keeping it firm and elastic-like. As you age these fibers break down and loose their effectiveness. Keeping your skin properly hydrated keeps it more healthy and younger in appearance.
Everyone, young and old, should minimize exposure to the sun and protect themselves from Ultraviolet Radiation. UVA and UVB rays damage the DNA in skin cells and can lead to deadly forms of skin cancer (Melanoma Carcinoma). Sun exposure increases the fine lines on skin, known as wrinkles, and accelerates the timeline of the aging process. Prevention is easily achieved by limiting the amount of time you are exposed to UV rays and by using products that help prevent exposure to UVA and UVB rays. With this said, it is understandable why it is so important to take care of your skin!
Skin Cancer Facts
Most of the more than 1 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer diagnosed yearly in the United States are considered to be sun-related. Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, will account for about 62,190 cases of skin cancer in 2006 and most (about 7,910) of the 10,710 deaths due to skin cancer each year (American Cancer Society, 2007)