Name any two glands found in the human skin. State their functions.
Glands are sac-like tissue structures in the body which play a vital role in the physiology and homeostasis. Anatomically they are made of secretory cells and also situated in a safe yet prominent location inside the body. Glands are quite numerous and regulate different physiological functions and activities. The glands can be differentiated based on their locations, based on their type of secretions, based on the organ systems they control, etc. These glands mostly perform their function through the release of secretions. These secretions can be hormones, enzymes and sometimes just fluid yet all of them have some essential functions.
The two types of glands in our skin are:
A. Sebaceous glands
They secrete sebum. Sebum is a mixture of fats (triglycerides, cholesterol, squalene, and wax esters), debris, and keratin. This forms the light film of oil on the surface of our skin. It is an oily secretion which keeps upper part of the hair projecting beyond the skin waterproof. Sebum contains substances which spread along the hair and onto the skin where it keeps the follicle free from dust and bacteria.
The main function of the fatty sebaceous gland is to lubricate the skin. This prevents the loss of moisture. In turn, the skin remains moisturized and flexible.
B. Sweat glands
Sweat glands are a type of exocrine gland, which are glands that produce and secrete substances onto an epithelial surface by way of a duct. These glands produce a watery secretion and open on to the skin to help control the body temperature.
They have three primary functions:
• Thermoregulation: sweat cools the surface of the skin and reduces body temperature.
• Excretion: Their secretion can also provide a significant excretory route for water and electrolytes.
• Protection: Their secretion aids in preserving the skin's acid mantle, which helps protect the skin from colonization from bacteria and other pathogenic organisms.
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