Sebaceous32 (see-BAY-shus) glands produce an oily secretion called sebum (SEE-bum). They are flask-shaped, with short ducts that usually open into a hair follicle (fig. 6.11c), although some of them open directly onto the skin surface. These are holocrine glands with little visible lumen. Their secretion consists of broken-down cells that are replaced by mitosis at the base of the gland. Sebum keeps the skin and hair from becoming dry, brittle, and cracked. The sheen of well-brushed hair is due to sebum distributed by the hairbrush. Ironically, we go to great lengths to wash sebum from the skin, only to replace it with various skin creams and hand lotions made of little more than lanolin, which is sheep sebum.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.