What is Subcutaneous Fat?

Monounsaturated Fats-Polyunsaturated Fats
three women with different body types


Subcutaneous fat is stored directly under the skin unlike visceral fat surrounding organs. It causes a puffy appearance but is less metabolically dangerous than visceral fat.


  • Subcutaneous fat protects against bumps and temperature changes. Women naturally have more due to childbearing needs.
  • It piles up all over the body – belly, hips, thighs, arms. Subcutaneous fat results from excess calorie intake.
  • Unlike visceral fat, subcutaneous fat has less impact on inflammatory markers and chronic disease risk.
  • Losing subcutaneous fat improves appearance but doesn’t influence health markers as much as visceral fat reduction.


  • Pinchable fat forming a spare tire around the midsection.
  • Jiggly thigh and arm fat deposits just under the skin.

Related Terms

  • Adipose tissue, visceral fat, body composition, caloric excess

Common Questions

  • Where does subcutaneous fat get stored? All over the body unlike visceral fat centrally around organs.
  • Does it increase health risks? Much less than visceral fat because its location away from organs causes less systemic inflammation.

Do Not Confuse With

  • Intramuscular fat – Fat droplets that accumulate inside muscle cells, especially with aging.
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