In order to understand how Botox treatment of sweat glands works, it’s imperative to first comprehend the physiology and function of these glands. How many types are there? What does each type do? And which sweat gland is responsible for the foul odor of sweat! In layman’s term sweat glands are akin to ventilation ducts of human skin. They are outlets through which body secretes sweat to cool itself when it’s hot. Our bodies contain a huge concentration of these sweat glands with 2-4 million located almost all over it. There are two types of sweat glands which are distinguishable from each other based on their function and location on human body.
Eccrine Sweat Glands
Eccrine sweat glands are the more numerous and are present everywhere with exception of a few parts such as genital area, ear canal and lips. Eccrine sweat glands are not deep rooted and don’t connect to hair follicles. Although eccrine sweat glands remain active throughout life but their number tends to decrease with advancing age. There are two primary functions of eccrine glands, sweat excretion which cools the skin regulating body temperature and providing a protective layer which inhibits growth of bacteria and other parasitical organisms. Compared to Apocrine sweat glands, eccrine sweat glands are very small.
Apocrine Sweat Glands
Apocrine sweat glands are found in select few areas of the body such as armpit, between anus and genitals, the ear and in the eyelids. Apocrine glands are usually connected to hair follicles and are substantially larger than eccrine glands. The primary function of apocrine sweat glands is to continuously secrete a fatty and more viscous liquid in the gland tubule. This tubule wall contracts when a person experiences sensations like pain, fear, stress, anxiety or sexual excitement and pours the liquid onto to the skin where bacteria on the skin break it down into nutrients. Apocrine sweat glands lay dormant before puberty and become active upon the hormonal changes of puberty.
Based on the physiology of the sweat glands we can conclude that the eccrine sweat glands are responsible for sweat production. On the other hand apocrine sweat glands are not directly responsible for the signature pungent and acrid smell of sweat as it’s created when the bacteria on the skin decompose the fatty secretion that apocrine glands produce.