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Sebaceous and sweat gland disorders 

Sebaceous and sweat gland disorders

Sebaceous and sweat gland disorders

Alison Layton


November 28, 2013: This chapter has been re-evaluated and remains up-to-date. No changes have been necessary.

May 31, 2012: This chapter has been re-evaluated and remains up-to-date. No changes have been necessary.

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date: 30 March 2017

Cutaneous glands in humans include holocrine or sebaceous glands and merocrine or sweat glands. Merocrine glands are subdivided into apocrine, eccrine, and apoeccrine glands. Disorders of each of these cutaneous glands have been associated with disease.

Apocrine glands in adults are found predominantly in the axillae and anogenital regions, with a few located in the ear canal (ceruminous glands) and eyelids (Moll’s glands). Associated disorders include hidradenitis suppurativa, Fox–Fordyce disease, bromhidrosis, trimethylaminuria, and chromhidrosis.

Eccrine glands are the sweat-producing glands of the skin. Many drugs and systemic diseases can influence the degree of sweating, such as thyroid disease, infection, carcinoid and cholinergic drugs. The concentration of sodium chloride in sweat is increased in cystic fibrosis.

Sebaceous glands form part of the pilosebaceous unit and are found over the entire body surface, with the exception of palms and soles. They are under the influence of androgenic hormones, especially dehydrotestosterone (DHT). Acne is a common inflammatory skin disease often associated with significant psychosocial morbidity. Early effective intervention reduces emotional and physical scarring. An understanding of pathophysiology allows topical and systemic therapies to be combined logically to target therapy.

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