What Is Superficial Fascia?

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  • Written By: Dan Harkins
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2019
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Just beneath the skin, or epidermis, is a layer of tissue called superficial fascia, or hypodermis, that could contain a little or a lot of jiggly adipose fat. This formative layer of connective tissue is largely responsible for giving final shape to the body, particularly in the facial and torso regions. Superficial fascia is found elsewhere in the body, though — coating organs and circulatory junctions in protective sheaths of padding.

The principal role of this tissue is to bind the skin with deeper levels of tissue called deep and visceral fascia. These deeper levels then bind with muscle tissue to provide a multi-faceted network of interlapping shock-absorbent tissue. Along the way, superficial fascia also helps to regulate body temperature, store fat energy and water, streamline nerve messages and blood flow as well as provide needed cushioning for the fragile epidermis. During periods of immediate weight gain, like pregnancy, the hypodermis's "viscoelasticity" helps the skin accommodate the stretching.

The areas of the body with the heaviest pockets of superficial fascia vary largely by the person's age and gender, but they are largely contained to the face, jowls, scalp, buttocks, abdomen, pectoral area, and the upper arms and legs. A thin, subcutaneous layer of this tissue is present under most of the body's skin. Although it may be paper-thin, even places like the eyelids and ears have this fatty tissue.


This subcutaneous tissue can be found across the animal kingdom, giving insulation and fat storage to beasts, ranging in size from buffalo to rabbits. Its construction can be described as a matrix of fibro-areolar tissue, colored either white or yellow. This tissue is composed of a variety of cellular constructions, from lamellar and granule cells to plasma cells and plasmatocytes. All are latched together like a rippling web to contain a large portion of the body's stores of fat.

When people endeavor to lose weight, stores of fat contained within the superficial fascia are burned up, giving the layer less foundational support and returning the tissue to its truest skeletal and muscular form. This layer of fascia is not the only place to contain fatty adipose tissue, either. Though one of the major locations, the body's peritoneal cavity also contains many opportunities for the body to collect and store fat for later use as fuel. In the latter case, the fat is considered visceral fat; whereas, fat found in the hypodermis is called subcutaneous fat.


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Post 3

Please understand there are people with diseases regarding connective tissue of ligaments, tendons and fascia. Please understand the importance of all fascial layers and how the whole body must function as one.

The body is not separated, so treating things as single issues are not always sufficient. Problems and pain in the myofascial system can lead to pain and a wide array of other symptoms in another totally different spot.

Learn about connective tissue and how it may play a role in your symptoms. Then learn what you can do about your fascial troubles. Try massage that benefits soft tissue stress and injury by loosening adhesions and scar tissue.

Post 2

@miriam98 - I am not sure why that it is, either, except that I know that your body loses water first and then tries to burn up fat in other areas too. Be sure that you eat plenty of protein, otherwise your body will burn muscle tissue and not fat – and that’s not something that you want.

I remember reading that belly fat can be particularly dangerous to your health. I don’t know if this also included the fat in the superficial fascia, but it certainly included the visceral fat. So if I were you I would focus on that area first. That’s what I am doing myself.

Post 1

Well, I confess that I have my share of “jiggly, adipose fat” under my superficial fascia. I have started and stopped many diets, with varying degrees of results.

I have found that exercise and moderation in my daily diet is better than going on anymore fad diets. I am curious about why it seems that the belly seems to be the last part of the body to lose the fat.

I have heard various theories, none to my satisfaction really. Perhaps the belly area is the last stand that the body has against its fat loss; it won’t give up this area without a fight.

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