Research

How We Sweat

Sweat plays a critical role in controlling body temperature for humans. Most of the sweat glands on our bodies are eccrine sweat glands, which pump out a mixture of water and electrolytes in response to temperature changes or emotional stimuli. Beneath the surface, these glands consist of three major areas, the tightly bunched secretory coil, where the cells that produce sweat are located; a long dermal duct that transports sweat to the skin surface; and the upper coiled duct just below the pore where sweat exits. Eccrine glands can produce an impressive amount of pressure – about 70 kN/m^2, equivalent to 70% of sea-level atmospheric pressure – to help drive sweat up and out onto the skin. Flow from pores is not steady; like many other biological processes, sweat flow is pulsatile. (Image credit: Timelapse Vision Inc., source; Z. Sonner et al.; submitted by Marc A.)

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