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 disorders of apocrine glands are bromhidrosis and hidradenitis suppurativa (see Hidradenitis Suppurativa).
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 hyperhidrosis, hypohidrosis, and miliaria.
Last full review/revision April 2013 by David M. Pariser, MD
Content last modified September 2013