Login
Copyright

What Are Sebaceous Glands? - Definition & Function

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Male Reproductive System: Functions, Organs & Anatomy

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 What Are Sebaceous Glands?
  • 0:39 Function
  • 1:24 Potential Issues
  • 2:06 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has taught high school and college biology and has a master's degree in cancer biology.

Sebaceous glands are very important for the overall health of our skin and body. In this lesson, learn more about these glands and their role in our lives.

What are Sebaceous Glands?

Have you ever looked at a picture of yourself and wondered why your face looks so oily and shiny in the frame? Maybe you even wanted to delete the photo or throw it away. Well, the reason why your face appeared so shiny is because your sebaceous glands were working hard.

Sebaceous glands are exocrine glands that release sebum. These glands are connected with the hair follicles, and, in most cases, sebum is released through the same pore through which hair grows. Sebaceous glands are located on every surface of your skin, with the exception of your palms, bottom lip, and the soles of your feet.

Function

Sebaceous glands function by producing and releasing sebum in order to help protect and lubricate the surface of the skin. Sebum is composed of fat, cellular debris, and keratin. This lubrication helps to keep our skin from drying out and becoming susceptible to cuts. If your skin has ever felt very dry, then you know how much easier it is to cut yourself when your skin is dry versus when it is moist. It's important that sebum moisturizes the skin and helps to keep it intact, as we are subject to infection any time our skin breaks.

Sebum also makes our hair waterproof. We are all familiar with the saying that 'water and oil don't mix.' Secreting oil where your hair grows protects the hair from water, which would eventually evaporate and leave it brittle.

Potential Issues

When the sebaceous glands are functioning properly, then just the right amount of sebum is released, and the skin and hair are protected. There are times, though, when too much or too little sebum is released. This can cause problems. We already touched on what can happen if not enough sebum is released, so let's look at what occurs when too much sebum is released.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher
What is your educational goal?
 Back

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 10 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Support