A rare condition that turns your skin blue

Silver doesn't just have deadly effects on werewolves and vampires. It can also do a number on humans. A rare condition, called argyria, turns people's skins and the whites of their eyes, a pale but definite shade of blue. And it only gets nastier from there.

Many unpleasant things have been used, historically, as medicine. In the first century AD, if you were asked to take silver filings for your heart, instead of being asked to gargle with urine and sleep with the genitals of a leopard under your pillow, you counted yourself lucky. Into the 1700s, silver continued to be in given to people to treat conditions like epilepsy and bad breath. It was even used to bind wounds, since it was thought to be an antiseptic. It was during the 1700s that doctors came up with argyria, a term for a condition associated with the ingestion of silver. At first, the whites of the eyes became gray. Then they turned blue. The nail beds soon followed, and eventually the entire skin turned blue.

A rare condition that turns your skin blueS

In the past, people swallowed silver filings, or even beads, but now some people ingest colloidal silver - which is a fancy term for silver bits suspended in a solution. People order it online and take it for arthritis or to ward off infection. Some people even purchase machines to extract silver from wire.

A little silver won't do any damage. There's no need to take a hammer to your fillings. But silver doesn't pass through the body completely. It leaves silver salts in the body. Over time, they build up and discolor everything they touch. Although the most visible part of the person is the skin, argyria leaves the entire body blue, even the internal organs. The process is irreversible. There are no health effects associated with argyria, so it almost seems like something a body-modder might consider. But there's no way to tell what dose of silver, for how long, will turn you blue. Too little and you look gray. To much, and you take out your kidneys and occasionally cause a seizure disorder.

Although there are no conclusive ties to any health benefits from taking colloidal silver, while the connection to argyria has been established since 980 AD, some people do still advocate, and sell, colloidal silver. Generally, their online pages are interspersed with pages for lawyers looking for enough argyria victims to sue the sellers. We'll see who wins out.

Second Image: CNX

Via Dermatology Online Journal and The Mayo Clinic.