Apocrine vs Eccrine Sweat Glands: Difference and Comparison

The skin seems to be the biggest organ of the human body, with glands, blood arteries, nerve fibers, hair follicles, and 3 layers of the dermis: epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis.

The glands are organs that are primarily responsible for secreting compounds into a fluid medium.

Key Takeaways

  1. Apocrine glands are found in areas with hair follicles, like the armpits and groin, while eccrine glands are widespread across the skin’s surface.
  2. Apocrine glands secrete a viscous, protein-rich fluid that can cause body odor, whereas eccrine glands produce a watery, odorless sweat for cooling.
  3. Apocrine glands become active at puberty, while eccrine glands function from birth.

Apocrine Sweat Gland vs Eccrine Sweat Gland

The difference between Apocrine Sweat Glands and Eccrine Sweat Glands is that the apocrine glands discharge chemicals further into the outer skin wall surface passively. In contrast, the eccrine glands exude fluids effectively into the skin layer through a conduit.

Apocrine Sweat Gland vs Eccrine Sweat Gland

Underarms, ears, side parts of the breast, outer vaginal area, and eyelids have been the only places on the human body where Apocrine sweat glands may be located.

These glands seem to be more concentrated in areas with a large number of hair follicles.

Eccrine glands constitute said “acrosyringium,” the intraepidermal spiraling conduit, a dermal duct with a straighter and coiled component, and a secretion tubule curled deeply inside the dermis or hypodermis.

Two rotating layers of columnar as well as cuboidal epithelial cells make up the twisted part.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonApocrine Sweat GlandEccrine Sweat Gland
FunctionPheromonic substances secreted by the apocrine gland entice opposing sex.The thermoregulation function of the eccrine gland is to regulate body temperature.
Secretory PortionThe apocrine glands’ secreted component is greater than that of the eccrine glands’ secretion section.Although it is more common than Apocrine Sweat Glands, their secretion is way lesser than Apocrine Sweat Glands.
Chemical SecretionApocrine glands constitute glands that release chemicals into the top layer of skin in an ambiguous way.Eccrine glands are indeed a subtype of sweat glands that secretes contents straight into the skin via a duct.
Found in areasThe areolar of the chest, underarm, ear, eyelashes, and perineum all have apocrine glands.Except for the places where apocrine glands remain present, all those other regions have eccrine glands.
Liquid SecretionApocrine glands produce a viscous, transparent secretion.Eccrine secretes a liquid sweat that is light as well as clear.

What is Apocrine Sweat Gland?

There are two sweat glands in the human body. One of them is the Apocrine sweat gland. Underarms, scrotum, perineum, and labia majora are some places on the body where they appear.

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The entrance of the sweat gland together into the hair shaft is among the most distinguishing characteristics of apocrine sweat glands.

Also, Apocrine sweat gland discharges too are viscid. Proteins, as well as essential fats, are found in these discharges. As a result, they become fatter and milkier.

Apocrine gland discharges are necessary for bodily odors. The microbial decomposition of these fluids causes the scent caused by the numerous compounds created during the decomposition processes.

Puberty is the time when apocrine sweat glands turn out to be active. Non-primate animals, on the other hand, possess apocrine sweat glands that cover the majority of their bodies.

Like humans, these apocrine glands produce an odorless, oily, opaque discharge that gains its characteristic odor upon bacterial decomposition.

What is Eccrine Sweat Gland?

Another kind of sweat skin gland includes eccrine sweat glands. Sweat glands of that sort can be found throughout the body.

They are focused mainly on the head, throat, and spine fields. Also, Eccrine sweat glands do not discharge onto hair follicles.

Water and sodium chloride makes up the fluids of all these sweat glands. Human body warmth is used to evaporate this sort of sweat. As a result, it aids in body cooling.

Eccrine sweat glands, therefore, play an essential part in temperature regulation. In addition, regular exercise increases the amount of sweat produced.

Whenever an individual is mentally agitated, the eccrine sweat ducts are accountable for the dampness generated in the palms as well as the isolated area.

The sympathetic division innervates eccrine glands, mostly by cholinergic axons, which influence discharge in deep body temperature and natural adrenergic fibers.

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The glands upon the hands and soles of the feet do not react to temperatures, but they secrete when under emotional stress.

Main Differences Between Apocrine and Eccrine Sweat Glands

  1. The apocrine gland secretes pheromonic chemicals that entice the opposite sex. The eccrine gland’s thermoregulatory purpose is to keep the core temperature in check.
  2. The discharged segment of the apocrine glands is higher than the secretory portion of the eccrine glands. However, it is more prevalent than Apocrine Sweat Glands. Its discharge is much lower.
  3. Apocrine glands are glands that secrete substances in an unclear manner further into the upper layer of the skin. Eccrine glands are a sort of sweat gland that secretes their substances through a duct directly into the skin.
  4. The areolar of the chest, underarm, ear, eyelashes, and perineum all have apocrine glands. Except for the places where apocrine glands remain present, all those other regions have eccrine glands.
  5. The outflow of apocrine glands is thick and clear. Eccrine produces fluid sweating that would be both light and clear.
  1. Regional variations in transepidermal water loss, eccrine sweat gland density, sweat secretion rates and electrolyte composition in resting and exercising humans | Extreme Physiology & Medicine | Full Text (biomedcentral.com)
  2. Histochemical and Immunohistochemical Markers for Human Eccrine and Apocrine Sweat Glands: An Aid for Histopathologic Differentiation of Sweat Gland Tumors – ScienceDirect

Last Updated : 30 June, 2023

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8 thoughts on “Apocrine vs Eccrine Sweat Glands: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The study provides valuable insights into the differences between the two types of sweat glands. It’s an excellent source for those interested in the topic.


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