Scent Glands

Scent glands are only found in the armpits, in the region of the nipples, the mons veneris (mount of Venus), the labia majora (large lips of the vagina) and the anal region. They have no function in regulating body temperature. The glands themselves (diameter: 4 mm) lie in the subcutis and empty into the hair follicles. The secretion of the scent glands is alkaline and thick. Until being secreted on the surface, it is odourless. The characteristic smell is caused by bacterial decomposition on the surface of the skin.

The activity of the scent glands begins in puberty, and in women depends on hormonal fluctuations (period). These apocrine sweat glands are controlled by (adrenergic) nerves.

Unlike the acidic secretion of the sweat glands, the alkaline secretion of the scent glands does not provide any protection from bacterial infections. This is why abscesses frequently occur in the area of the sweat glands in the armpits.