What Does the Skin Do in the Excretory System?

The skin excretes sweat and dead cells from the body, according to the Franklin Institute. Sweating and dead cell excretion through the skin is a function of the integumentary system, which supports the excretory system.

Sudoriferous glands, also known as sweat glands, are located in the dermis layer of the skin, notes InnerBody. The skin contains two types of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine. Both types of glands remove liquids from the body and help regulate body temperature. Eccrine glands are found all over the body and secrete a mix of sodium chloride and water. Apocrine glands are located in the armpits and pubic areas, and they do not become active until puberty. These glands use hair follicles growing out of skin to excrete an oily liquid that also creates body odor.

Though both types of sudoriferous glands excrete liquids, the eccrine glands are primarily responsible for excreting wastes through the skin, according to InnerBody. In addition to excess water, the eccrine glands excrete electrolytes and chemicals, such as sodium, chloride, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Sweat also excretes some metabolic wastes that the body must expel, such as urea and bodily acids.

The eccrine glands can excrete alcohol through the skin after a person has been drinking, states InnerBody. Alcohol causes blood vessels to expand and causes an increase in blood near the sweat glands. The glands absorb the excess alcohol and process it out of the body as sweat.