Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What Argyria Looks Like

It has always been very difficult to capture argyria, the skin discoloration caused by silver, on film. I have had the condition for over 50 years developing it when I was a teenager.

When I was young, human beings developed photographs, and I suspect that when they saw an argyric person in one they thought, “No. This can’t be right. She can’t be this color,” and they adjusted the color mix to make us look the way they thought we should. If the photo showed us with other people, the adjustments made everyone look a little “off”, but viewers weren’t surprised because they were accustomed to photographs that often produced colors that were "a little off".

Like most argyric people, I’ve always hated to have my picture taken, but unlike most of the others, I did let some people take a few over the years, mostly my dad who was an amateur photographer, and they were mostly slides. I posted some on my webpage to show you what I looked like before I turned gray and before and after I was dermabraded.

At the bottom, you will see a lady who had her entire body discolored by silver.

In this digital age it is easier to show our discoloration, but often even digital photos make us look “just like you” and color appears different on different computer screens and mobile devices. It isn’t just us amateurs who have this problem. I’ve worked with lots of professionals who did too. That includes AP photographers and network TV video cameramen.

To compound matters, our discoloration changes in different light and probably when surrounded by different colors. I had been told that for years but never comprehended it till I met Arline, a lady who got argyria recently from a silver “dietary supplement” labeled “colloidal silver” or “CS”.

Arline and I met when Good Morning America flew me out to Las Vegas to meet her in person and be interviewed for one of their TV programs although we had spoken often on the phone before then. We met originally when a person who saw me on Ripley’s Believe It Or Not told Arline that she thought she had the same condition that I have and, with her permission, contacted me by email to ask that I phone Arline who doesn’t have a computer.

When I walked into the hotel room for the interview, Arline and her sister were seated with the TV producer and crew, but they looked fine to me. Neither looked discolored, until that is, we walked out into the sunlight. There Arline's discoloration was startling. It was also startling under the fluorescent light in her dermatologist's office. Yet in spite of this, the cameraman was never able to show the startling effect on video, but the following photos do. They show exactly how Arline looks at her worst, how I think I looked before I was dermabraded and how most people with generalized argyria look.

Here are photos which I think show what I look like now, post-dermabrasion, at the age of 69. As a result of the experimental procedure my face has gone from a solid gray to a splotchy gray, pink and white.

You will find more photos of argyric people if you google “argyria” or “Paul Karason”. Paul is the only person besides Arline and me that I know of with argyria who has spoken out publicly and the only one I know of who appears to be thrilled with the attention looking weird gets him. Oh how I’d love to meet him in person!

You will find case reports about argyric people on PubMed, some of which include photos, if you search using the term “argyria” or “colloidal silver”.

If you live in the US and find articles indexed on PubMed that you'd like to read, go to the library at your local hospital. The librarian may have them or be able to get you copies at little or no cost.


  1. You never mentioned or explained how you you became argyria? Also, how did Arline become argyria? You mentioned she became that way because of Silver Colloidal consumption, but you didn't mention how much she consumed and for what reason?

  2. How did you find my blog? The story of how I developed argyria is on my webpage, It was posted many years before I started my blog. Actually, it was posted before there were blogs. If you googled my name or argyria, it always used to come up whereas my blog didn't.

    Arline very kindly gave me permission to post her photo. She hasn't given me permission to tell her story, and I haven't asked her for permission although I can tell you that her skin was discolored by a silver "dietary supplement" that she took by mouth.

    I know many people with argyria. Arline is the only one who has been willing to speak publicly. Most won't even let doctors use their photos with their eyes blocked out to illustrate articles in medical journals.

    I've explained on my webpage that my case, and Arlines, are two of hundreds that are documented and that if you want to know about silver and argyria you have to look at them all, not one or two. If you do look at them all, as I and researchers have done, you will find that no one has ever determined the amount of silver that will discolor the average person. No one has done the toxicology studies to determine that. What has been shown is that taking silver internally in any form or amount is all risk and no benefit. Taking silver internally offers no benefits whatsoever but it can discolor you.

  3. Paul Karason died not long ago so that besides Arline and myself, I don't know of any other argyric person who will speak publicly although I do know a few who couldn't even if they wanted to because they got out-of-court settlements from the responsible parties which include confidentiality clauses stipulating that they cannot speak about their cases.

    The first link in the blog above will bring you to the page on my website where I tell you my story, the story of how I got argyria.