Integumentary System

Skin sebaceous Glands are classified under the pilosebaceous unit and contain both a hair follicle and a hair. The glands are located everywhere in the body expect in the palms, soles, top of the feet, and the lower lip. The glands are heavily located on the face, upper neck and the chest. The glands produce sebum which is responsible for keeping the skin moisturized. The major function of the sebaceous glands is secretion of the sebum by a holocrine process. The sebum secreted is composed of triglycerides, wax esters and squalence.

Sebum on the skin plays a crucial role in maintain a skin barrier by expressing pro inflammatory and anti inflammatory properties. Combination of sebum and other apocrine secretions have a thermoregulatory role (Smith, 2011). Sweat glands are tube like structures located within the skin, in which sweat is produced and then transported to the surface of the skin. The sweat glands are classified into Eccrine and apocrine sweat gland. Every sweat gland contains a hollow tube, which is long and coiled like a ball at its base. The coiled part is usually located in the dermis.

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The duct allows sweat to move from the base towards the surface of the skin. The duct has a pore on the skin surface. There are three major functions of the sweat glands which are thermoregulation, excretion, and protection. In the thermoregulation, sweat cools the surface of the skin and reduces body temperature. During excretion the glands will provide a significant excretory route for both water and electrolyte. In protection, the glands help in preserving the skin’s acid mantle which contributes to skin protection form bacteria and other pathogenic organisms.

Hair is a skin structure that has a follicle and a shaft. The hair shaft is usually made up of dead, hard protein called keratin. The follicle part contains the living part of the hair which is the papilla of the hair. The follicle part has sheaths that protect and mold the growing hair shaft. The major function of the human hair is to help in detection and transmitting sensory information from the external environment. Hair is also used in gender identification, where it is more developed in men than women (Smith, 2011).

Sebaceous glands are associated with diseases such as eccrine carcinoma, apocrine gland carcinoma and dermal cylindroma. Eccrine carcinoma is represents a group of tumors with a potential for local destruction and metastasis. The apocrine gland carcinoma is a cutaneous condition characterized by skin lesions which form in the axilla and anogenital regions. The dermal cylindroma is a common benign adnexal tumor which occurs mainly in the head and the neck area, mainly on the scalp and the face. The tumor is usually characterized with nested cells that look like a tube in a cross section view (McGraw-Hill, 2009).

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