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All About Sebum

 

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What is sebum?

Sebum is part of the oil that is located on the surface of the skin.  Other ingredients found in the oil of the skin are sweat, lipids and environmental dirt.  Sebum is one of the main providers of body odor.  Sebum itself is actually odorless, but its bacterial disintegration is what produces the odor.  This is why if you keep your skin clean of bacteria using antibacterial soaps frequently, you can reduce body odor to a great extent.  Sebum makes contact with hair follicles and coats the hair and also reaches the skin by way of the hair follicles.  Most people will experience oily hair if the hair is not washed for a few days.  This happens due to the sebum.  The Latin meaning of sebum is fat.  

How is sebum produced? 

Sebum is produced by sebaceous glands.  These glands are found on most parts of your body.  Except just a few, the majority of the sebaceous glands open into a hair follicle.  These represent the sites of acne formation. 

What does sebum do? 

Sebum protects skin from bacterial infection.  Another function of the sebum is to decrease the natural water loss of body from the skin.  Too much sebum production may cause acne.  

Sebum production  

Sebum production declines as you get older.  Especially in women it reduces after menopause.  Adult females generally produce less sebum than males.  Sebum production may rise during a men’s puberty.  

There are various common theories about sebum. Some individuals think that drying excess sebum with blotting oils will reduce sebum production. Other people believe that using products supposed to control oil production that will increase sebum production. Both of these are wrong conclusions. Drying excess oil will just get rid of surface oil. And using oil control products will not increase sebum production. Sebum is needed to protect the skin, but over production of sebum can lead to oily skin and regular acne flare ups.

 

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