The Sebaceous Gland
Sebaceous glands are sebum-producing sections of the skin. They are commonly found in the skin itself connected to the hair follicles. The glands release sebum that is released through the hair shaft and into the skin. Other parts of the skin that do not have hair can also hold these glands. Where hair follicles are absent, sebum is released through ducts and pores. Some parts of the body do not contain these sebaceous glands. These include the palms of the hand and the soles of the feet.
The sebum released by the sebaceous glands is often simply called skin oil. The composition of sebum however is not limited to oil. Sebum also contains waste skin cells or debris. These glands and the sebum that they produce therefore play important roles. Aside from ensuring the elimination of dead skin cells, they also make sure that the skin and hair are sufficiently lubricated. Without enough sebum, the skin could become dry and rough and hair could become dry and brittle. Every person needs these sebaceous glands for healthy skin and hair.
Sometimes the problem with sebaceous glands is insufficient sebum production. There are times when the problem is too much sebum production. There are a couple of possible reasons for excess sebum production. One may eat meals that are too rich in fats. At other times, the production of excess sebum may be the result of hormonal activity. Teens who experience increased hormonal activity are among those who experience excess sebum production.
At the very least, too much sebum may simply lead to very oily skin and hair. It is also believed though that too much sebum could be a factor in the development of acne. This explains why teens normally have oily skins and acne.
Acne doesn’t just develop due to overactive sebaceous glands. Pimples form because the pores or openings that are supposed to be the drainage areas for sebum are blocked. Sebum therefore accumulates underneath the skin. Additional bacterial action begins which results in the inflammation of the skin.
Taking Care of the Skin
There are no specific guidelines for the care of sebaceous glands. There are however a lot of basic tips for skin care. Since these glands are linked to the skin, it makes sense to practice proper skin care.
The important thing to remember about the skin is that oily skin isn’t necessarily bad. Sebum is what gives moisture and glow to the skin and hair. At the same time though, skin that is too oily should not be left alone. The combination of oil and dirt that could carry bacteria is a bad mix.
If you want to make sure that your skin has just the right amount of sebum, all you need to do is to check your diet and to practice proper skin hygiene. Cut your fat intake and wash your skin with water and mild soap.