Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Postmortem Tattoo Decomposition

The immediate postmortem period, stage 1(ranging from 1 to 10 days), there are no marked changes to a tattoo. During the initial phase of stage 2 decomposition, a slight darkening of the skin occurs and decreases tattoo visibility. This is followed by skin slippage and/or sloughing, which enhances the color and brightness of the tattoo along with more visibly defined lines. During the decomposition phase(stage 3)  there is an increase in skin discoloration as the skin takes on a waxy texture. The discoloration and waxy surface decreases the visibility of tattoos. Gradually the skin and then the tattoo itself, will dehydrate and take on a leathery appearance — lines demonstrate fine striations and muted colors. The decrease in visibility during this time is likely due to an increasing discoloration of the skin. Further decomposition, stage 4, continues to obliterate the tattoo design, though even with extensive decomposition, the tattoo is still visible. Near complete obliteration of the tattoo will occur just prior to desiccation of the tissue, at which point tattoo visibility is dependent on the defining characteristics of certain colored inks

Info from here

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