SUBCUTANEOUS LAYER, OR HYPODERMIS
The subcutaneous layer, although not actually part of the skin, is an important layer that lies deep to the dermis. It is largely composed of connective tissue, which is interwoven with the connective tissue of the dermis. This layer stabilizes the skin, connecting it to underlying structures, while allowing some indepen-dent movement. At the same time, the subcutaneous tissue separates the deep fascia that surrounds mus-cles and organs from the skin. Therefore, this layer is also known as the superficial fascia. The subcuta-neous layer has a deposit of adipose (fat) tissue and serves as an energy reservoir and insulator. The adi-pose tissue also protects the underlying structures by serving as shock absorbers. The distribution of fat in the subcutaneous layer changes in adulthood. In men, it tends to accumulate in the neck, arms, along the lower back, and buttocks; in women, it accumu-lates primarily in the breasts, buttocks, hips, and thighs.