Types of sweat glands and what they do

The sweat glands are located in lower section of the skin called the dermis and are essential for controlling a person’s body temperature. Basically, they are collections of cells which secrete liquid into collecting ducts. Every person has between two to four million sweat glands of which a majority are eccrine and the remainder are called apocrine.

What is the eccrine sweat gland and what does it do?

There are a high number of eccrine gland cells on the body but they are found on the feet, hands and also on the forehead. The secretion is clear and odourless. The main function is to regulate the body’s temperature. The glands begin to work when the body experiences an increase in temperature. The glands produce fluid that can be seen on the skin which promotes heat loss through evaporation. In general it is overactive eccrine sweat glands that are responsible for hyperhidrosis.

What is the function of the apocrine gland?

This gland distributes mainly to the nipples, armpits and genital region. Unlike the eccrine gland, the apocrine sweat gland secretes a much smaller amount of milky and thick liquid. When it first develops, there is no odour but it comes in contact with bacteria that thrive in the moist environment it produces a characteristic body odour.

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