Sebaceous Glands

Sebaceous Glands

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Sebaceous Glands: Several Important Functions in the Human Body

Introduction (what they are / main features)

The sebaceous glands are located in the dermis, and as they flow (in most cases) into the skin, they are considered exocrine.

The cells inside the gland secrete a lipid into the light, and then to the hair follicle.

As there is constant cell turnover, cell debris can also make up the secretion.

Because of all these features, these glands are called holocrines!

All glands in the body have a specific secretion function, whether hormone, lipid, water and ions, or whatever.

They basically fall into:

- Exocrine glands: are those that have fluid secretion out of the body. As an example, we have the sebaceous glands, which will be described below.

- Endocrine glands: These have a role in controlling organs and internal functions, often having hormonal activity. An example is the pancreas.

How are they formed

Basically, the sebaceous glands are of the acinar type, lined by an outer layer and the basement membrane. The epithelium is of the stratified type.

They flow into the hair follicle or directly into the skin and can therefore be classified as typical sebaceous or sebaceous follicles, respectively.

They can also be classified as:

- Simple alveolar glands: In this case, each gland has its own duct.

- Simple branched alveolar glands: These together share the same duct.

Where are they found?

They are considered structures attached to the skin, but tend to appear in larger amounts on the face, back and chest.

Main functions:

The secretion of sebum (lipid material) has as its main tasks:

- lubricate;

- prevent the growth of bacteria;

- Assist in the control of body temperature;

- Excrete waste.

How is the production of tallow?

Knowing that this is a lipid secretion and containing cell debris, the glandular production is divided into phases:

1 - Basal cells accumulate lipids.

2 - There is release of sebum droplets.

3 - Sebaceous cells are destroyed, and then these remains make up the secretion.

4- By mitosis, there is cellular regeneration and restart of the process.


Acne results from inflammation and invasion of the sebaceous glands by bacteria.

- Sebum production undergoes hormonal regulation, which is increased during adolescence. For this reason, acne is more common at this age.

In addition to puberty, another peak production of these glands is after birth. This is because until this moment, glandular functioning depends on maternal androgens; In the newborn, the hormone "accumulates", and there is hyperfunction of the glands.

- Studies indicate that secretion may also be interfered with by hormones, such as insulin and thyroid hormone.