What1f, on 12 May 2013 - 08:37, said:
Hate to flame, but you don't have any idea what you're talking about. Sebum keeps you young and delivers antioxidants to your skin, mainly vitamin e which is significant to skin. Sebum also keeps your eyes moist and protects them from debris. Keeps your hair shining, and if you must know sebaceous glands also moisturize your genitalia. Accutane is the absolute dumbest drug ever invented. If you're thinking about accutane, don't
Oh... Better discard every piece of scientific evidence sited thus far in this thread, then.
Step back a moment and think about the assumptions you are making. Why are you so adamant that sebum 'keeps you young,' that it delivers antioxidants and Vitamin E, that it keeps your hair shining?
I know at first glance it might seem counter-intuitive to claim that this oil, which most people immediately associate with moisture, does not in fact have much of a use even for moisturising the skin - but have you taken a closer look at the scientific literature, some of which is on this thread and more of which users like Bryan have posted elsewhere on these forums? If you do, you'll realise the reality is far more complex, and that there are many misconceptions about the whole role the sebaceous gland supposedly plays. You’ll also realise that the gland is the sole means of transmission for all acne, regardless of its underlying cause – it’s a gland that causes many, many problems but serves little useful function, giving us virtually none of the benefits it’s often been falsely credited with.
Also, the 'sebum' you refer to on the eyes is produced by the meibomian glands, which although related to sebaceous glands are quite distinct - they produce a different mixture of oils and waxes and serve a different purpose altogether. The substance they produce stops evaporation of some of the lower layers of fluids on the surface of the eye. The eye is a very different organ from the skin and these glands are outside the scope of this discussion altogether. A dysfunction of these glands is not necessarily related to dysfunctions of the sebaceous glands on skin. An acne treatment aimed at reducing or stopping sebum production would not be intended to target these glands, in the same way that an electrolysis treatment to remove facial hair on women would not be targeted at removing the eyelashes at the same time - they serve different purposes for very different organs. Facial hair is of little to no use for modern females, but eyelashes are certainly useful (and look nice). Similarly, sebaceous glands on the skin have little use, but meibomian glands are useful. If a treatment harmed these meibomian glands as well as the sebaceous glands on the skin, it would be an unwanted side effect in need of attention, because it could result in dry or sensitive eyes.
Accutane is, in fact, a good illustration of a common misconception most people have about sebaceous glands. Now, we know full well that accutane will frequently give very dry skin as a side effect, amongst many other unpleasant ones. And, of course, it's true that it clears up acne by reducing the production of sebum (although that is not its only method of action). But the immediate link most people draw between the two - dry skin and less sebum - simply isn't valid. The dry skin side effects of accutane have virtually nothing to do with reduced levels of sebum, however tempting it is to believe so. All the evidence points to other, more complex reasons which are unrelated to the sebaceous gland at all. But so common is this incorrect attribution that you will even find non-specialised doctors, e.g. GPs posting short general advice articles on the internet, making this incorrect statement - something along the lines of 'because the glands produce less oil .... dry skin side effects result' or similar. This 'because' they have conjured up is based on their faulty assumptions, not scientific evidence.
If you want a really simple and convincing illustration of what one could expect if all (skin based) sebaceous glands were to disappear, I've seen many top dermatologists point to young children, who produce very little sebum, and perhaps even more poignantly, to those with CAIS (Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome), who produce little to no sebum for their entire lives. They do not age faster, their skin is not doomed to perpetual dryness or similar problems, their hair is normal - in fact, those with CAIS are known to often have particularly beautiful and thick hair, something they are able to maintain without sebum. Amazing though it may sound, if you could magically shut down sebum production in your body without affecting anything else, it does seem very likely you would suffer no setbacks, even in the long term.
The trouble is, most established methods out there targeting sebaceous glands (e.g. accutane) do have many unwanted effects. It would take a method that targeted the sebaceous glands in the skin and nothing else to become widely used for this to become more common knowledge.