A Bluish Discoloration Of Tissues (esp. Skin) Due To Silver

Regarding reports of silver turning skin blue in humans:

It is certainly possible to over-ingest silver-containing solutions abd cause a permanant bluish discoloration of skin and other tissues. To achieve this effect requires massive ingestion of silver far in excess of anything therapeutic or sensible.

The following information comes from Wikipedia:

A prominent case was that of Stan Jones of Montana, a Libertarian candidate for the United States Senate in 2002 and 2006. Jones acquired argyria through consumption of a home-made silver product that he made due to fears that the Year 2000 problem would make antibiotics unavailable. The peculiar colouration of his skin was featured prominently in media coverage of his unsuccessful campaign, though Jones contends that the best-known photo was “doctored”. Jones promised that he was not using his silvery complexion as a gimmick. He continues to promote the use of colloidal silver as a home remedy. He has said that his good health, minus the unusual skin tone, is the result of his use of colloidal silver.

On December 20, 2007 the world press published stories about Paul Karason, a California man whose entire skin gradually turned blue after consuming colloidal silver made by himself with distilled water, salt and silver, and using a silver salve on his face in an attempt to treat problems with his sinus, dermatitis, acid reflux, and other issues. This happened because he drank gallons of colloidal silver per week for years.

In our opinion, neither of the cases cited above represents sensible or prudent use of colloidal silver – in fact there is ample evidence that the home-made soludions used by these two persons are not in fact true colloidal suspensions!

Silver has a long and honorable history of use in human healing. There is ample literature attesting to it’s safety and efficacy. Here is an abstract from just one article:

Silver has a long and intriguing history as an antibiotic in human health care. It has been developed for use in water purification, wound care, bone prostheses, reconstructive orthopaedic surgery, cardiac devices, catheters and surgical appliances. Advancing biotechnology has enabled incorporation of ionizable silver into fabrics for clinical use to reduce the risk of nosocomial infections and for personal hygiene. The antimicrobial action of silver or silver compounds is proportional to the bioactive silver ion (Ag(+)) released and its availability to interact with bacterial or fungal cell membranes. Silver metal and inorganic silver compounds ionize in the presence of water, body fluids or tissue exudates. The silver ion is biologically active and readily interacts with proteins, amino acid residues, free anions and receptors on mammalian and eukaryotic cell membranes. Bacterial (and probably fungal) sensitivity to silver is genetically determined and relates to the levels of intracellular silver uptake and its ability to interact and irreversibly denature key enzyme systems. Silver exhibits low toxicity in the human body, and minimal risk is expected due to clinical exposure by inhalation, ingestion, dermal application or through the urological or haematogenous route. Chronic ingestion or inhalation of silver preparations (especially colloidal silver) can lead to deposition of silver metal/silver sulphide particles in the skin (argyria), eye (argyrosis) and other organs. These are not life-threatening conditions but cosmetically undesirable. Silver is absorbed into the human body and enters the systemic circulation as a protein complex to be eliminated by the liver and kidneys. Silver metabolism is modulated by induction and binding to metallothioneins. This complex mitigates the cellular toxicity of silver and contributes to tissue repair. Silver allergy is a known contra-indication for using silver in medical devices or antibiotic textiles.


Lansdown AB (2006). “Silver in health care: antimicrobial effects and safety in use”. Current Problems in Dermatology 33: 17–34.