Hypodermis (Subcutaneous Fat): What's Beneath the Skin?

Contributor: Ann Keeney. Lesson ID: 11594

The word fat gets a bad reputation. It can be an insult or a measure of how unhealthy a meal might be. Under your skin is a layer of fat. Learn to be grateful for it as you take notes!


Life Science

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Sometimes, fat sounds like a bad word, but the body needs fat! Learn about the hypodermis and subcutaneous fat.

If you haven't yet completed the previous Related Lessons in our Skin series, head over to the right-hand sidebar before moving on.

Your skin has three layers. Each layer has a specific job and plays a vital role in the function of your body.

Review what you've learned using the image below:

skin layers

  • ♦ Skin is made of layers.
  • ♦ The top layer is the epidermis, the part of the skin you see.
  • ♦ Dermis is the second layer of skin.
  • ♦ Subcutaneous fat, or hypodermis, is the bottom layer.


The epidermis layer is the layer you see and feel. The thickness of this layer can vary over your body; for example, the epidermis is super thin on some parts of your body, like your eyelids, and thicker on others, like the bottom of your feet.

The functions of the epidermis are many:

  • ♦ making new skin cells
  • ♦ giving skin its color
  • ♦ protecting your body


The dermis is the second layer of skin, and a lot happens in this layer. The jobs of the dermis include:

  • ♦ making sweat
  • ♦ helping you feel things
  • ♦ growing hair
  • ♦ making oil
  • ♦ bringing blood to your skin

skin layers

Subcutaneous fat

The subcutaneous fat layer, or hypodermis, is the bottom layer of skin. This layer plays a vital role in your body.

The important jobs of this layer include:

  • ♦ attaching the dermis to your muscles and bones
  • ♦ helping the blood vessels and nerve cells
  • ♦ controlling your body temperature
  • ♦ storing your fat
  • Did you ever think about what fat really is, and why everyone seems to have some?
  • Did you know that your body needs some fat to function?

The subcutaneous layer is where this important fat is stored.

  • Can you name at least two other functions of the hypodermis?

Write the answer in your notebook before moving on to the Got It? section.

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