Sebaceous glands function in the body

Sebaceous glandsmall oil-producing gland present in the skin of mammals. Sebaceous glands are usually attached to hair follicles and release a fatty substance, sebuminto the follicular duct and thence to the surface of the skin. The glands are distributed over the entire body with the exception of the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet; they are most abundant on the scalp and face.

The sebaceous gland secretes a mixture of fats triglycerides, wax esters, squalene, and cholesterol and cellular debris, which is discharged as sebum through the sebaceous duct connecting the gland to the hair follicle. Sebaceous glands begin to form from embryonic hair follicles during the fourth month of gestation and are large and well-developed at birth. They shrink during childhood but enlarge again with the onset of puberty; the maturation of the glands seems to be dependent on circulating levels of male hormones, in particular testosterone.

The sebaceous glands are involved in the development of the common adolescent skin disorder known as acne vulgaris. Acne occurs when the outlet from the gland to the surface of the skin is plugged, allowing sebum to accumulate in the follicle and sebaceous duct.

The chemical breakdown of triglycerides in the sebum, possibly by bacterial action, releases free fatty acids, which in turn trigger an inflammatory reaction producing the typical lesions pimples of acne. Sebaceous gland Article Media Additional Info.

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Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article requires login. External Websites. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree See Article History. A cross section of mammalian skin and its underlying structures.

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These clients do not personally endorse the services or treatments. If you ever wondered how the skin stays hydrated, there are over two million reasons collectively, in the form of sebaceous glands. These glands are responsible for surface-level protection and hydration of the skin by synthesizing and secreting sebum. Several skin conditions can result in the improper functioning of the sebaceous glands. In some cases, it can result in more oily skin than others.

Severe conditions of irregular gland function can be associated with acne breakouts or even the formation of cysts amongst other conditions. Sebaceous glands are microscopic exocrine organs that are responsible for keeping the skin moist and, in a way, protected with the secretion of an oily substance called sebum.

The glands use various ducts and pores on the skin to transport the secretion to lubricate the skin. They occur in a great number on face and scalp along with other areas of the body. Broadly, there are two types — those that are attached to hair follicles and those that are freely present in the dermis.

They develop from the fourth stage of foetus growth and form completely during the early years. These glands have a higher functioning rate with the onset of puberty. While the number of sebaceous glands stay relatively the same in a human life span, their size may increase in certain areas which can affect the state of skin health. The primary function of the sebaceous gland is to secrete a fatty and oily substance called sebum.

Sebum is a complex lipid comprising of fatty acids, keratin, and random debris and forms an oily or waxy sheen on the surface of your skin. This secretion is responsible for keeping the skin and hair in the case of the scalp moist, flexible and waterproof. Sebum also possesses antibacterial and antioxidant properties, which links to the immune function of the body. It acts as a basic barrier against infection of the deeper layers of skin, and eventually internal organs, by drastically preventing the growth of microbes and other organisms, when compared to dry skin.

Additionally, sebaceous glands play a role in regulating how the body reacts to changes in temperature. In hotter temperatures, the glands help lock moisture in the skin which prevents excessive amount lost through sweat. This is critical in preventing dehydration. With colder temperatures or wetter conditions, the sebum secretions may become more congealed, repelling water and sealing body heat to a certain degree. With up to glands located in every square centimetre of skin, sebaceous glands are located all over the body in varying densities with the exception of the sole, palms and bottom lip.

Most sebaceous glands are connected to hair shafts, making them more common in areas with hair growth. There can be several glands attached to one follicle which branch out of a central duct in an acinar structure in bunches similar to berries. The irregular function of sebaceous glands can cause a host of problems for your skin health. A reduced amount of sebum production can cause the skin to dry and break, making it prone to infection. Overproduction of the same commonly leads to a breakout of acne vulgaris due to the blockage of the openings on the skin with pus and debris, the presence of which can lead to an infection.

If a higher activity of the glands occurs in the deeper layers of the skin, a lack of treatment could lead to the formation of cysts which can be a painful condition.

sebaceous glands function in the body

Other conditions caused by the abnormal functioning of the sebaceous glands or clogging by sebum are —. With several skin problems arising due to the clogging of the sebaceous glands with sebum, knowing how to maintain a basic care routine for your specific skin type will help prevent any aggressive outbreaks. Sebaceous glands play an important role in keeping external elements at bay. Maintaining your skin health directly relates to their proper function and in turn, can prevent negative skin conditions from manifesting.

Request a Call back. Our specialists will revert to answer all your queries. Highly Standardised Protocols. Buy Products. For Existing Clients Hyderabad. Secunderabad — Himayatnagar — Kukatpally — Banjara — Jubilee — Gachibowli — The sebaceous glands are minute glands of the skin.

It is distributed in the entire skin of the human body except for the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. The skin is the soft covering of the human body and is the largest organ that makes up the integumentary system.

It is made up of multiple layers that protect the fundamental muscles, joints, ligaments and other internal organs of the body from harm and infection. It serves as the first of defense of the human body against the external factors from the environment that can potentially harm the human body.

The skin also protects and regulates the temperature of the human body and is also responsible for sensing both hot and cold temperatures. The sebaceous gland is attached to the hair follicles of the skin and together with the arrector pili muscle made up the pilosebaceous unit. This pilosebaceous unit is generally found on the surface of the human skin. The sebaceous gland begins to form during the embryonic development exactly on the 4th month of gestation. It is well-developed and large in size at birth and decrease or shrinks in size during the childhood stage.

The sebaceous gland will once again enlarge and become more and more active as a result of increase in the production of androgen and reaches its maximum production by the third decade of life where it will begin to slow down as the age advances. Sebaceous gland is the only existing holocrine gland found in the human body. The holocrine gland is composed of acini or the small clusters of cell.

Introduction to Skin Anatomy and Physiology

It is a type of exocrine gland that uses ducts to secrete the completely broken down cells away from the body through a specific location.

There are different types of sebaceous glands that are classified according to the location of their existence. They may have different names but they all carry the same function in the specific areas they are located. This spot is characterized as yellow white spot or pale red spot that initially develop on the epithelial surface during the stage of puberty. John Fordyce who first identified and described the spots.

The gland is also known as an "ectopic sebaceous gland" due to the abnormality in existence in modified skin. Tyson gland or preputial glands are modified sebaceous gland found on the prepuce of the human penis particularly in the corona and the inner surface.

The gland was named after Edward Tyson who first noted the existence of this gland. It is believed that the secretion of this gland is among the component of smegma. It can also be found in the female clitoris particularly in the folds of the labia minora and in the region of the clitoris.

sebaceous glands function in the body

Montgomery gland is also known as "areolar glands" or "Glands of Montgomery" and can be found in the nipple of both breasts particularly in the area of the areola. The gland was named after an Irish pediatrician, Dr. William Fetherstone Montgomery, who first identified and described the glands.

The prominence of the gland is highly observed when the breasts are stimulated and is more pronounced during pregnancy. The amount of glands in the nipple varies and usually average about 4 to 28 round bumps per nipple. Meibomian gland is also known as "tarsal gland". This is a special type of sebaceous gland located at the rim of the eyelids within the tarsal plate.

This gland was named after a German physician named Heinrich Meibom who first identified and described the gland. Sebaceous gland exists in the entire skin of the human body which serves different functions according to the needs of the part where the glands are located.

The largest sebaceous gland and the enormous amount of glands are generally found on the face, chest, back and the skin on the upper outer arms. Face has a great amount of sebaceous glands that explains why the face have an oily characteristic. It is widely distributed on the face with about three thousand of glands per square inch of the skin on the face.Sebaceous glands are microscopic organs in the skin that secrete an oily substance called sebum that lubricates and waterproofs the skin.

Pilosebaceous units are found everywhere on the body except the lower lip, palms of the hands, and tops and soles of the feet. The greatest concentrations, not surprisingly, are on the face, scalp, upper neck, and chest where most acne outbreaks occur. Depending on their location, there can be anywhere from 2, to 6, sebaceous glands per square inch.

While most sebaceous glands are connected to a hair follicle, some open up directly to the surface of the skin. These include the meibomian glands of the eyelids and the Fordyce spots of the lips and genitals.

Sebaceous glands work in tandem with the sweat-producing eccrine glands to regulate body temperature. In hot conditions, the excreted sebum mixes with sweat to slow the rate of evaporation. In cold temperatures, the sebum will contain more lipids to shield the hair and skin from moisture that can facilitate heat loss. In addition to maintaining moisture and regulating temperatures, sebum contains squalene and other substances that prevent bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms from causing infection.

Sebaceous glands are first visible between weeks 13 and 16 of fetal development and emerge from the same stem cells that give rise to the outermost layer of skin, called the epidermis. Following birth, the activity of the glands will gradually decrease and become nearly inactive between the ages of two and six. It is after this period that the production of sebum will steadily increase, reaching an apex during puberty as boys and girls both experience a sudden spike in male hormones androgens.

Sebum production tends to slow by around the age of 20 and continues diminishing the older we get. As this occurs, the skin can become drier and lose elasticity.

sebaceous glands function in the body

These changes, referred to sebostasistend to occur in tandem with decreases in androgen production. The loss of moisture, combined with the depletion of collagen and keratin, can lead to characteristically dry skin xerosis cutis and brittle hair. The condition most of us associate with the sebaceous glands is pimples. While the pores of the skin are great self-cleaning machines, any accumulation of dirt or debris can combine with sebum to create a glue-like compound that can seal the entryway.

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing. Pimples are medically referred to as acne vulgaris. Those that are severe and consolidate into boil-like pustules are known as cystic acne. Teenagers tend to be most vulnerable to pimples because the changes in hormones not only increase the volume of sebum but the concentration of wax esters within it, leading to thicker, gummier oils.

Sebaceous Glands - Pictures, Function, Types, Location

Treatments include antibioticsbenzoyl peroxideretinoidsand anti-androgen drugs such as spironolactone. While pimples may be the result of hormonal imbalances, they can also be caused by steroids, contraceptives, and immunosuppressant drugs. Pimples can also be mistaken for other conditions such as folliculitislupus miliaris disseminates facieiand Demodex mites a microscopic, eight-legged arachnid that lives in or near follicles.

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While pimples are the most common concern associated with the sebaceous glands, there are other conditions that can affect them as well, including:. While genetics and hormones play a large part in the way our sebaceous glands work, there are things you can do to help them function properly:. Dealing with acne can be frustrating.

Our free guide provides expert tips to help you take control. Sign up and get yours today. Recent advances in the endocrinology of the sebaceous gland. Sebaceous gland lipids. An update on the role of the sebaceous gland in the pathogenesis of acne. Table of Contents View All.A sebaceous gland is a microscopic exocrine gland in the skin that opens into a hair follicle to secrete an oily or waxy matter, called sebumwhich lubricates the hair and skin of mammals.

In the eyelids, meibomian glandsalso called tarsal glands, are a type of sebaceous gland that secrete a special type of sebum into tears. Surrounding the female nipple, areolar glands are specialized sebaceous glands for lubricating the nipple. Fordyce spots are benignvisible, sebaceous glands found usually on the lips, gums and inner cheeks, and genitals.

Several related medical conditions involve sebum—including acnehyperplasiaand sebaceous adenoma. These are usually attributable to overactive sebaceous glands, which produce excess sebum. Sebaceous glands are found throughout all areas of the skin, except the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Sebaceous glands are found in hair-covered areas, where they are connected to hair follicles.

One or more glands may surround each hair follicle, and the glands themselves are surrounded by arrector pili musclesforming a pilosebaceous unit. The glands have an acinar structure like a many-lobed berryin which multiple glands branch off a central duct. The glands deposit sebum on the hairs and bring it to the skin surface along the hair shaft.

The structure, consisting of hair, hair follicle, arrector pili muscles, and sebaceous gland, is an epidermal invagination known as a pilosebaceous unit. Sebaceous glands are also found in hairless areas glabrous skin of the eyelidsnosepenislabia minorathe inner mucosal membrane of the cheekand nipples.

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Sebaceous glands on the lip and mucosa of the cheek, and on the genitalia, are known as Fordyce spotsand glands on the eyelids are known as meibomian glands. Sebaceous glands of the breast are also known as Montgomery's glands.

Sebaceous glands are first visible from the 13th to the 16th week of fetal developmentas bulgings off hair follicles.

Overexpression of the signalling factors WntMyc and SHH all increase the likelihood of sebaceous gland presence. The sebaceous glands of a human fetus secrete a substance called vernix caseosaa waxy, translucent white substance coating the skin of newborns.

Insertion of sebaceous glands into hair shaft. Sagittal section through the upper eyelid. A hair follicle with associated structures.

Scalp cross section showing hair follicle with sebaceous glands. Relative to keratinocytes that make up the hair follicle, sebaceous glands are composed of huge cells with many large vesicles that contain the sebum. Sebaceous glands secrete the oily, waxy substance called sebum Latin : fat, tallow that is made of triglycerideswax esterssqualeneand metabolites of fat-producing cells. Sebum lubricates the skin and hair of mammals. In hot conditions, the secretions emulsify the sweat produced by the eccrine glands and this produces a sheet of sweat that is not readily lost in drops of sweat.

This is of importance in delaying dehydration. In colder conditions, the nature of sebum becomes more lipid, and in coating the hair and skin, rain is effectively repelled.

Sebum is produced in a holocrine processin which cells within the sebaceous gland rupture and disintegrate as they release the sebum and the cell remnants are secreted together with the sebum.Sebaceous glands are glands that produce oil in your body. They produce sebum which consists of fatty substance and cell debris. Apart from your palms and soles, sebaceous glands are found throughout the skin of your body. Generally sebaceous glands are situated in parts of your body that have hair.

The gland can also be located in areas without hair on your body such as nose, eyes, nipples, penis and labia minora. On the penis, the gland is yellowish in color and small in size. The small size of the gland is due to the thin penis tissues. In some people, the sebaceous gland of the penis is more visible than others. People may consider this as unusual condition and try to eliminate the gland by punching it. This may cause swelling on your penis but can be treated with antibiotics.

In some cases, your sebaceous glands may become overactive and secrete excess sebum in your body. This may be attributed to age; hyperactive gland is more prevalent in young people of age years. Excess sebum in your body may lead to serious skin conditions. These skin conditions are as follows:. Acne is a skin condition that occurs during puberty. Normally your skin has tiny holes, which are joined to the oil gland below the skin and the gland is connected to these holes through the follicles.

sebaceous glands function in the body

Sebum is responsible for carrying dead cells out of the skin through the follicles. When sebum is secreted in excess it accumulates under your skin and obstructs the follicles.

This causes acne. Acne affects people of ages but is more prevalent in adolescents and young adults. There are many types of acne such as:. Treating acne depends on its severity. These medicines may be in form of cream, lotions, gel and soap. Depending on the nature of your skin, you can apply the one that is appropriate. For people with oily skin, use gels while those with a sensitive skin apply cream or lotion.

People with severe acne must see a dermatologist, an expert in skin treatment. Your dermatologist will diagnose the condition and may prescribe the following medications:.

What Are Sebaceous Glands And What Are Its Functions?

The doctor administers antibiotics such as tetracycline and erythromycin to control growth of bacteria and relieve swelling on your skin. If you have acne cyst that is very severe, it may rupture and leave a scar on your skin. Your doctor can inject corticosteroid to cure the swollen cyst and stop scarring on your skin.

In case all the medication fails to treat a cyst, your doctor will administer oral retinoid to you to treat the problem. It is a condition of the oil gland that is characterized by presence of lesions on the skin of your face.

This condition may affect single or several lesions on your nose, forehead and cheeks. The lesions are yellowish or white in color. Hyperplasia is more prevalent in middle aged and elderly persons.Punters have been given an easy-to-use way of discovering whether or not a fancied bet offers value, thanks to Europe's biggest tipping network.

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We no longer check to see whether Telegraph. To see our content at its best we recommend upgrading if you wish to continue using IE or using another browser such as Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome. By Ben Rumsby The spectre of match-fixing enveloped the Premier League after an expert on Asian betting markets claimed at least one game in the division had almost certainly been rigged.

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