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The Glands In The Skin

Category: THE SKIN
Source: A Handbook Of Health

Sweat Glands. Like all the pavement (epithelial) surfaces of the body,
inside and out, the skin has the power of making glands by dipping down
little pouches or pockets into the layers below. In the skin, these
little gland-pockets are of two kinds, the sweat glands and the hair

The sweat glands are tiny tubes which go twisting down through the
different pavement layers, through the basement layer, and right into
the coat of fat, which lies just under the skin. The tube of the sweat
gland soaks, or picks, out of the blood some of the waste-stuff--just as
the kidney tube does in the kidney,--together with a good deal of water
and a small amount of delicate oil, and pours them out on the surface of
the body in the form of the sweat, or perspiration.

As you will remember, when the muscles work hard and pour more waste
into the blood, then the heart pumps larger amounts of blood out into
the skin; and this causes it to redden. The sweat glands work harder to
purify this extra blood, and they pour out the waste and oil and water
on the surface. As soon as this water gets upon our hot skin, it begins
to evaporate and cool us off, as well as to carry off some of the waste
in the form of gas. The trace of oil in the perspiration helps to
lubricate the skin and keep it soft; but when too much of it is poured
out we have that greasy feeling, which we have all felt after perspiring

From all this cooling and breathing and blood-purifying work going on
upon the surface of our skin, you can easily see why it is so important
that all our clothing should be loose and porous and that next the skin
easily washed; else it will very soon become clogged up and greasy, and
shut off the breathing and blood-purifying work of the skin and make it
dirty and unhealthy. This continual mist of water, rising and bubbling
up through our skin like springs out of a hillside, is another of
nature's wonderful ways of cleansing the skin and of preventing any kind
of dirt from permanently sticking to or lodging in it. Remember, you do
not need to dig below the surface when you wash.

Hair Glands. The other kind of skin glands, the hair glands, are also
pouches growing out from the deepest part of the stem of the hair, known
as the root, or hair bulb.

From the root of the hairs, two or three little bundles of muscle run up
toward the surface of the skin. When these contract, they pull the root
of the hair up toward the surface, causing the hair to stand erect, or
bristle, as we say. This is what makes the hair on a dog's or a cat's
back stand up when he is angry; but the commonest use of the movement
is, when animals are cold, to make their coats stand out so as to hold
more air and retain the body-heat better. We have lost most of our hairy
coating, but whenever we get chilly, whether from cold or from fright,
these little muscles of our hair bulbs contract and pull the hair glands
of our skin up toward the surface, so that it looks all pimply or

Each hair pouch has sprouted out from its sides a pair of tiny pouches,
which form oil glands to lubricate the hair and keep it sleek and
flexible. It is hard to beat nature at her own game, and her method of
oiling the hair is far superior to any hair oil that can be put on from
the outside. Keep your hair well brushed and washed, and nature will oil
it for you much better than any hair oil or scalp reviver ever

Next: The Nails

Previous: Our Wonderful Coat

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