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Introduction to Sweating Disorders

By Shinjita Das, MD, Instructor in Dermatology;Assistant in Dermatology, Harvard Medical School;Massachusetts General Hospital

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There are two types of sweat glands: apocrine and eccrine.

Apocrine glands are clustered in the axillae, areolae, genitals, and anus; modified apocrine glands are found in the external auditory meatus. Apocrine glands become active at puberty; their excretions are oily and viscid and are presumed to play a role in sexual olfactory messages. The most common disorder of apocrine glands is

Hidradenitis suppurativa also affects the apocrine glands and is discussed elsewhere.

Eccrine glands are sympathetically innervated, distributed over the entire body, and active from birth. Their secretions are watery and serve to cool the body in hot environments or during activity. Disorders of eccrine glands include