Skin glands


The skin is made up of several layers. Most of the glands are in the upper layers.

The importance of the skin as our most functionally versatile organ is often underestimated.

Among other things, it serves to delimit one's own body from the outside, protects us from environmental influences, serves for perception and even communication with the environment. In addition, it plays an important role in the metabolism and the immune system, and is extremely adaptable.

To be able to guarantee all of this, our skin consists of much more than just a few layered skin cells.

It can be viewed under the microscope in multiple layers subdivide:

Starting with the epidermis (Epidermis) on the surface, including the Dermis (also dermis or corium), followed by the Subcutis (Subcutaneous tissue).

To the so-called Skin appendages one counts components like hair and your Sebum glands and hair follicle muscles, Nails and Sweat glands- and Scent glands.

Ultimately, that too female mammary gland a modified skin gland.


The skin glands include all glands that are located in the outer skin (see above).

Theirs is characteristic of gland cells Opening to the outsidethrough which they can secrete their secretions.

The skin glands can be divided into

  • Sweat and scent glands,
  • Sebum glands
  • Mammary glands

Sweat glands

Sweat glands (Glandula suderifera), lie in the dermis. They produce human sweat (Sudor), which can then be released through the sweat pores and thus primarily serves to regulate the body's heat. A subtype of the sweat glands are the scent glands, which are found in certain regions of the body and whose secretions develop a smell.

The sweat glands are about 0.4mm in diameter and are surrounded by a solid basement membrane. They are distributed in the dermis, regardless of the position of the hair.

As already mentioned, the main task of the sweat glands is the production of sweat, which then cools down by evaporation on the surface of the skin and is so essential for us humans to protect us from overheating.

In addition, sweat also ensures that the skin's suppleness and its slightly acidic pH value are maintained, which in turn is important for the defense against pathogens and germs that are killed by the acidic environment. If the kidneys are no longer able to adequately detoxify the body, it is even possible for the sweat glands to excrete small amounts of substances that are actually urinary, such as nitrogenous compounds and table salt, through the skin.
Please also read our topic: Anatomy of the sweat glands

With his two to four million sweat glands compared to other land mammals, humans have an extraordinarily large number.

During the day, a person produces here, in the Central European climate, for example ½ liter of sweat. During physical exertion, high temperatures or fever but can even do it up to five liters become.

Because with the sweat too lost a lot of water it is particularly important to use a adequate hydration to pay attention.

You can find the sweat glands especially at the soles, the Palms and the forehead. They are most sparsely sown on the thighs.

Scent glands

The scent glands are only found in very specific parts of the body: the armpit, the nipples and the genital area. At three to five mm, they are significantly larger than the normal sweat glands and are located in the subcutis (see above), closely related to the hair.

Although you have the scent glands from birth, they only become functional when you enter puberty. In response to emotional stimuli, their secretion production is activated and the scent glands emit their scent substances (pheromones) to the hair funnel. Only there they are processed together with the sebum through the work of skin bacteria into a wide variety of odorous substances.

Learn more at: Pheromones for men

Thus, the respective bacterial colonization of the specific body region plays an essential role in the production of scents. This is important for social and sexual behavior.

Of course, like all parts of the body, illnesses can originate from the sweat and scent glands. These would be for example:

  • Adenomas (benign growths)
  • Hyperhidrosis (an abnormally high production of sweat)
  • Anhidrosis (the lack of perspiration)
  • Bromhidrosis (an excessively strong body odor)

Sebum glands

Also read our topic: Anatomy of the sebaceous glands

Sebum glands (Glandulae sebacea) can be found in the upper area of ​​the dermis. They produce fats (Lipids), the excretion product then becomes sebum or skin sebum (Sebum)called.

Since most of the sebum glands are in a very close anatomical relationship with the hair, they are sometimes also called hair follicle glands.The remaining, free sebum glands are found in the nostrils, lips and genital area.

Humans need the sebum to keep the skin supple and to maintain the acidic environment on the skin in order to guarantee protection against skin diseases, numerous pathogens and chemical substances.

Of course, there are not the same number of sebum glands everywhere on the body. There are areas of higher density, such as the entire scalp, genital area, and face. There are also no sebum glands in some areas of the body, namely the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

The body produces around one to two grams of sebum per day, depending on disposition, age, gender, diet and numerous environmental influences.

The sebum is made up of:

  • 43% triglycerides (neutral fats)
  • 23% wax
  • 15% free fatty acids
  • 15% squalene (a cholesterol precursor) and
  • 4% cholesterol.

Thanks to these ingredients, the sebum is able to effectively prevent the skin from drying out.

If the daily production is disturbed, however, it can lead to various clinical pictures.

For example, there are people who produce excessively high sebum (Seborrheic), as well as people with a rather low sebum production (Sebostatics).

Should one of the secretory pores become clogged, the sebum behind it can build up and blackheads can develop.

Find out more about the topic here: Blackheads - Causes and Treatment