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What Is a Sweat Pore?

Andrew Kirmayer
Andrew Kirmayer

A sweat pore is a small opening on the skin, and serves as the passage for fluid from the duct of a sweat gland to the top layer, or dermis. There are millions of these pores all over the body from which sweat is secreted. They allow sweat to leave the skin and evaporate, allowing it to cool off the body by evaporation when someone is outside in the heat or exercising. Human sweat pores can become blocked with dirt or because of an infection, which can cause a person to suffer from rashes and other skin conditions.

Underneath each sweat pore is a gland of one of two types. The human body has eccrine glands from which sweat with potassium, sodium, as well as chlorine is secreted. These are on most skin areas, while apocrine glands on the armpits and genitals also add protein and fatty acids to sweat. In the subcutaneous layer of the skin, sweat glands feature a region where fluids are secreted from, which has a coiled structure leading to the duct. The duct, straight in comparison to the secreting section of the gland, rises through the epidermis in a somewhat spiral shape.

An antiperspirant can help with sweating.
An antiperspirant can help with sweating.

The purpose of sweating is for the body to cool down. Sweat is secreted out of each pore into the air, and begins to smell when it mixes with bacteria on the outside of the skin. A person can sweat a lot when exercising, is sick with a fever, or is nervous, and if too much sweating occurs it is called hyperhidrosis. Various health problems can cause someone to sweat excessively, while a lack of sweat from each sweat pore, called anhidrosis, can result from dehydration in addition to various other disorders. The body can easily overheat if sweating stops and dangerous conditions can be the result.

A diagram of the human skin, including sweat glands.
A diagram of the human skin, including sweat glands.

Each sweat pore is located underneath the skin’s surface, in close proximity to the hair follicles, sebaceous glands which secrete oil, and the small blood vessels and nerve endings. Dead skin cells that coat the outer layer of the dermis surround each pore, which can vary in both size and shape depending on where on the body it is located. Large sweat pores can be sometimes seen with the naked eye but almost every sweat pore requires a microscope to see clearly. By taking showers often, one can keep the pores and skin clean, while deodorants and substances that help to lessen the amount of sweating can take away undesirable odors.

Discussion Comments


@Kristee – It's good to sweat off a fever, as long as your fever doesn't get too high. I believe that the dangerous point is after 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some people take acetaminophen or aspirin to reduce a fever, but as long as it isn't climbing way up in the hundreds, I believe that sweating it out is best. I have noticed sweat even on my legs and neck when I've gone to sleep with a fever of 100 degrees, but I usually feel better the next day.

It's crazy how the sweat pores all over the body start producing sweat when you are sick with a fever. Normally, we wouldn't even be aware of these pores.

I feel really hot when I wake up sweating from all my pores. However, in just a couple of minutes, I am shaking with chills, and that just goes to show how well the sweat pores work to cool off the body when it's abnormally hot.


The sweat pores under my arms used to be overactive when I was a teenager. I was nervous most of the time, and if I got embarrassed by anything, I sweat profusely and got wet circles on my shirt.

Getting up in front of class always caused this. So, I made sure to wear a white t-shirt on days when I knew I'd be called up front to speak. This way, the kids couldn't see how badly I was sweating!

Luckily, I calmed down with age, and my sweat pores started acting normally. It would have been tough to have had to live with sweating this much every time I got nervous forever.


I had a high fever when I had strep throat, and I was amazed at all the places on my body that could produce sweat. I didn't even know I had any sweat glands on my back and stomach, but since I was soaked in both places, I guess I do!

They say that sweating off a fever is beneficial. Still, I had to have antibiotics to treat the strep, because it could have led to serious conditions.

If I had something like the flu that could not be treated with antibiotics, though, it probably would have been fine just to depend on sweating off the fever to help me get better. It's unpleasant to wake up soaking wet in the middle of the night, but it shows progress, I suppose.


I didn't know you could actually sweat out protein and fats through your pores! Maybe this is why spa wraps help some people lose weight. I know that a lot of sweating is involved, and surely it can't be all water!

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    • An antiperspirant can help with sweating.
      By: karam miri
      An antiperspirant can help with sweating.
    • A diagram of the human skin, including sweat glands.
      By: Anita Potter
      A diagram of the human skin, including sweat glands.
    • Certain areas, such as the armpits, experience high amounts of sweating.
      By: alexandre zveiger
      Certain areas, such as the armpits, experience high amounts of sweating.
    • Sweat pores exist all over the body.
      By: roboriginal
      Sweat pores exist all over the body.
    • The purpose of sweating is for the body to cool itself down.
      By: camrocker
      The purpose of sweating is for the body to cool itself down.