The world is full of of embarrassing conditions you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Every week, Carian discusses one. This week: Argyria.
We all feel blue once in a while, but some people actually are blue. This rare condition is caused by chronic ingestion or inhaling of silver. As a consequence, silver particles accumulate in the skin over time and darken with exposure to sunlight, resulting in an irreversible blue or gray skin tone.
Currently, the use of colloidal silver as an alternative medicine product seems to be the most likely cause of Argyria. According to an article in the Dermatology Online Journal, colloidal-silver-based products have been promoted as a “cure-all” on the Internet. The authors write that manufacturers market their products to unsuspecting consumers using unsubstantiated claims of effectiveness against major illnesses such as AIDS, cancer, arthritis, and infectious diseases.
Also Paul Karason from California thought he could treat his dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) by drinking gallons of colloidal silver. His entire skin gradually turned blue after consuming it for years.
Although it looks extremely unhealthy, it seems that there aren’t any medical problems associated with this disorder, simply cosmetic. Some people, however, reported it to be socially debilitating.
Photo via 17tracks
Wadhera A, & Fung M (2005). Systemic argyria associated with ingestion of colloidal silver. Dermatology online journal, 11 (1) PMID: 15748553