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Types of Sweat Glands in Skin

May 16, 2023

Types of Sweat Glands in Skin

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Sweat Glands

Small tubular structures of the skin that produce sweat are known as sweat glands, sometimes known as sudoriferous or sudoriferous glands, from the Latin sudor'sweat. Exocrine glands, which include sweat glands, generate and exude chemicals onto an epithelial surface through a duct.

Read this blog further to get a quick overview of this important topic for dermatology and ace your NEET PG exam preparation.

Sweat Glands has 2 portions-Coiled portion and Duct portion

  • Eccrine-  If the duct directly opens over skin surface, it is k/a Eccrine sweat gland
  • Apocrine-   If duct opens along with hair follicle, it is k/a Apocrine sweat gland

Types of Skin Gland Secretions:

How Do Glands Secrete?
GlandSecretion NameDescription
EccrineMerocrine secretionVesicles are formed and fused to cell membrane 
ApocrineApocrine secretionApical part of gland is pinched off
Types of Skin Gland Secretions:

Location and Structure of Skin Glands

Location and Structure of Skin Glands

Eccrine gland

It Has two coiled structures, One below dermis - Sweat gland and Another in Epidermis - Acrosyringium, It Opens directly into the skin

Apocrine gland

It is Single highly coiled structure which Opens into hair follicle

Eccrine vs Apocrine:

CriteriaEccrine GlandApocrine Gland
LocationAll over body (more on palms and soles)Axilla, groin, mammary area, umbilicus
Type of SecretionMerocrineApocrine 
OpeningDirectly into skinInto hair follicle
Innervation CholinergicAdrenergic
RoleSweating/ ThermoregulationBody odor (no role in thermoregulation)
Onset of ActivityBy birthPuberty (Androgen dependent)

Eccrine Gland Disorders

  • Hyperhidrosis - Over sweating
  • Hypo/ Anhidrosis - Less/ No sweating
  • Miliaria - Blockage of Acrosyringium
  • Neutrophilic Eccrine Hidradenitis - Seen in chemotherapy patients (characterized by painful red eruptions on trunk)


  • Cause: Anxiety, stress, temperature differences
  • Locations- on Palms - Palmoplantar, Axilla - Axillary (usually in post puberty)

Test for Hyperhidrosis

Test for Hyperhidrosis
  • Iodine is painted on the affected area then Starch is sprayed after that Black coloration is seen and Black dots are formed indicating hyperhidrosis.
  • Treatment
    • Aluminum hexachloride
    • Formaldehyde
    • Glutaraldehyde
    • Oral anticholinergic
    • Iontophoresis
    • Botulinum toxin
    • Surgery
    • Iontophoresis-In this Two bowls are placed in water then Patient is allowed to put his hands into the bowls and then Current is passed to improve hyperhidrosis

Miliaria (IMP)

It is the Most common type of sweat gland disorder, It occurs due to  Blockage in the Acrosyringium

  • Types
Miliaria (IMP)
  • Miliaria Crystallina - Stratum corneum
  • Miliaria Rubra - Stratum spinosum
  • Miliaria Profunda - Basal layer (dermo-epidermal junction)

Miliaria Crystallina

Miliaria Rubra

Miliaria Profunda

  • Usually, infants
  • Superficial
  • Clear fluid filled thin vesicles
  • Other name: Prickly heat
  • Commonest
  • Itchy or discomforting
  • Erythematous papules
  • Deeper
  • Nodular
  • Treatment
    • Cooling advice
    • Calamine lotion can be given

To Remember

  • Miliaria rubra may get infected sometimes then it is called Miliaria pustulosa
  • Pustules are seen.
  • Usually, infecting bacteria is Staphylococcus aureus.
Miliaria rubra

Related Articles :

Layers of EpidermisAcanthosis Nigricans: Symptoms ,Causes Diagnosis And TreatmentPapulosquamous Disorders : Types and Treatment - NEET PG Dermatology
Blistering disorders of the Skin - NEET PG DermatologyAtopic Dermatitis (Eczema) - Types, Causes, Symptoms , Diagnosis and Treatment - Dermatology
Decoding Hair: Structure, Function, & Disorders
Acne Vulgaris (Grading and Treatment)

Apocrine Gland Disorders

  • Bromhidrosis
  • Chromhidrosis
  • Fox fordyce disease
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Bromhidrosis vs Chromhidrosis



  • Brom - Odor
  • Abnormal sweat odor
  • Production of volatile chemicals by the actions of bacteria on apocrine sweat
  • On set: Pubertal individuals
  • Management
    • Dietary advice (avoid garlic)
    • Deodorants
  • Chrom - Color
  • Vividly colored apocrine sweat (blue, yellow, green)
  • Production of lipofuscin in apocrine sweat
  • On set: Pubertal individuals

Fox Fordyce Disease/ Apocrine Miliaria

Fox Fordyce Disease/ Apocrine Miliaria
  • Reason: Apocrine gland is blocked
  • On set: Puberty
  • Gender: Female >> Male
  • Site: Mostly Axilla
  • Clinical presentation
    • Skin colored raised discrete papules
    • Itchy

Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS)

Whole hair unit is affected, not only the apocrine gland.it is a Chronic inflammatory condition also known as Acne inversa (seen at inverse locations to acne) it occurs on the following Site: Axilla, groin, mammary, umbilicus. It mainly affects pubertal age group.

Predisposing factors

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • DM
  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Associations
    • Follicular occlusion triad (HS, acne conglobata, dissecting cellulitis of scalp)
    • Tetrad: Follicular occlusion triad + Pilonidal sinus
    • Crohn's disease

To Remember: Severity staging of HS was given by Hurley

  • Pathophysiology of HS
    • Follicular occlusion and dilation 
    • Follicular rupture and inflammatory nodules and abscesses
    • Chronic state with sinus tracts and scarring.
Pathophysiology of HS
  • Clinical presentation
    • Polyporus Comedones (blocked sebaceous duct)
    • Inflammatory papules
    • Recurrent episodes
    • If severe
      • Abscess
      • Multiple discharge sinuses
      • Heals with scarring (Bridging/ rope scars)
Pathophysiology of HS
Multiple discharge sinuses

Bridging/ Rope Scars: They are seen because of the sinuses formed, as they leave behind the bridge lines between the follicles.

Bridging/ Rope Scars


It is  a  Rare condition. It is the Disorder of Eccrine sweat glands in which the patient develops skin-colored raised lesions which are Generally Asymptomatic. Most common  site of occurrence of lesions is eyelids. These are Benign eccrine sweat gland duct tumors.


This is everything that you need to know about Acanthosis Nigricans for your dermatology preparation. For more interesting and informative blog posts like this download the PrepLadder App and keep reading our blog!

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