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Sebaceous Glands: Understanding their Function and Common Skin Issues


Fibroblasts, melanocytes, and keratinocytes are often the focus of attention, while the function and problems of sebaceous glands are less discussed. The body’s oil secretion is affected by different states, such as premenstrual, pregnancy, or menopausal hormonal changes that stimulate the sebaceous glands.

It is commonly said that the T-zone produces more oil because the density of sebaceous glands is higher in the forehead, nose, and chin (about 400-900 per square centimeter), making blackheads, oil granules, and acne more severe in these areas.

The most common skin diseases caused by sebaceous glands are acne, sebaceous hyperplasia, sebaceous cysts, and sebaceous adenoma. The first two are the most common in medical aesthetics and will be described in more detail, while the latter two are usually treated with surgical intervention.

When pores are blocked by oil and acne bacteria proliferate, acne forms. Sebaceous hyperplasia is caused by excessive growth of sebaceous gland wall cells, and it mostly occurs on the face, especially on the forehead. They are circular, yellow or skin-colored, and have a small central depression. Sebaceous hyperplasia does not have a specific cause, but it is more common in middle-aged men. It does not develop into a tumor, but because it tends to enlarge and affect appearance, it is usually removed with carbon dioxide laser or electrocautery.

The skin problems caused by sebaceous glands should not be ignored. Let’s pay more attention to them in the future!