Sudoriferous Glands 101 for Massage Therapist, Spa & Salon Service Providers

Sudoriferous Glands 101 for Massage Therapist, Spa & Salon Service Providers

By: Selena Belisle, Owner/Instructor CE Institute LLC, Miami FL

Sudoriferous Glands aka/are more commonly referred to as: Sweat Glands

Sweat glands produce and secrete substances onto the surface of the skin through a tubular passageway or “duct”.  They are found on the dermis and their passageways protrude through the epidermis.

There are two main types of sweat glands: apocrine and eccrine glands.  While they are commonly found around the same area of the dermis, these two glands can act quite differently.  They differ in their structure, function, secretory product, mechanism of excretion and anatomic distribution.

Eccrine Sweat Glands

A type of simple sweat gland that is found in almost all regions of the skin. These glands produce sweat that reaches the surface of the skin by way of coiled ducts (tubes). The body is cooled as sweat evaporates from the skin.[i] Eccrine sweat is a colorless, odorless, hypotonic solution. 

Humans are born with approximately 3 million eccrine sweat units, and no additional ones are formed thereafter.[ii]


Apocrine Sweat Glands

These glands are found mostly in the axilla (armpits) and perianal areas and are not significant for cooling for humans. The apocrine gland secretes an oily fluid with proteins, lipids, and steroids that is odorless before microbial activity. It appears on the skin surface mixed with sebum, as sebaceous glands open into the same hair follicle.[iii]

A foul or volatile odor is created when the apocrine gland secretions mix with bacteria on the skin.

Apocrine glands tend to excrete in “squirts” while eccrine glands excrete continuously. 


This BLOG was written by Selena Belisle, the Founder of CE Institute LLC in Miami FL.  She is a retired professional athlete and has been practicing massage therapy for over 30 years.  Selena is an approved CE Provider with NCBTMB & the Florida Board of Massage.  She now teaches full time for the Complementary and Alternative Health Care Industries. You can learn more about Selena’s training and CE classes at

[i] “NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms.” National Cancer Institute, Retrieved online: 20 May 2018,

[ii] “Eccrine Units.” Derm101, 20 May 2018,

[iii] "sweat gland". Miller-Keane Encyclopedia & Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health (7th ed.). Saunders. 2003. Retrieved 18 December 2012.

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