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Argyrie: Skin blue discoloration due to exposure to silver

  1. Argyrie (argyria, argyrosis) is a rare skin condition in which a patient develops a blue-gray color from the skin, but also from the eyes, internal organs, nails and gums. Especially the areas exposed to the sun are affected. The skin disease occurs from prolonged exposure to silver that builds up in the body. This happens by taking medication or dietary supplements, or by exposure to silver (particles) at work. The change in skin color is permanent, but with a few tips it is possible to hide the symptoms and avoid aggravation.

Causes: Due to exposure to silver (particles)

  1. When the patient swallows silver, it corrodes in the stomach acid and turns into silver salt, which can travel through the bloodstream and enter the skin. When exposed to sunlight, the silver salt reverts to silver and the silver build-up results in a grayish or bluish skin discoloration.

Risk factors of blue or gray colored skin

  1. Medication The long-term use of certain medications containing silver may lead to the skin condition. This applies to, among other things:

Dietary supplements

  1. Argyria may also manifest itself when a patient takes dietary supplements containing silver. Colloidal silver (silver water) is a dietary supplement that may cause argyria. It consists of small silver particles in a liquid. Manufacturers of these products often claim that this supplement strengthens the immune system and treats cancer, HIV and AIDS, shingles, herpes and eye problems, but scientific research does not support this in October 2020. Over-the-counter medications and supplements containing colloidal silver or silver salts are not safe and effective. Silver has no known benefits when ingested and is not essential to the human body.


  1. The blue discolouration of the skin also occurs through prolonged exposure to silver particles in the workplace. If a patient works in silver mining, silver processing, or silver production, or any other area that the patient has in regular contact with silver, the risk of inhalation of silver particles or exposure of silver particles to the skin increases. This makes a patient more likely to deal with argyria. [! 193895 => 1130 = 462!] Other causes

  1. Some patients have inherited genes that cause them to develop Argyria. Very sporadic cases of argyria have also been reported, caused by silver acupuncture needles, silver earrings and dental pieces.

Symptoms: Blue or gray skin color

  1. The signs of the skin condition appear after several months or years, depending on the amount of silver to which the patient is exposed. In some patients only part of the skin is affected, while in others the entire skin is affected. In a patient with argyria, the symptoms start in the mouth, with the gums turning gray-brown. The skin then acquires a (blue) gray or metallic color. The discoloration is most noticeable on the forehead, nose, hands and other areas exposed to the sun. The whites of the eyes and nail beds also take on a blue-gray appearance. The internal organs of some patients, such as the spleen, liver, and intestines, are also sometimes colored bluish. A patient will only learn this when undergoing surgery.

Diagnosis and investigations

  1. If the physician thinks the patient is suffering from argyria, the patient will have a physical examination and answer questions about medical history and medication use. The physician must also be aware of any medications, dietary supplements, or treatments that contain silver and any other exposure to silver. Sometimes the doctor will perform a skin biopsy in which he removes a small portion of the skin for further confirmation of the diagnosis of argyria.

Treatment of blue discolouration of skin

  1. The skin discoloration that argyria causes is permanent and in other words does not disappear. Sunscreen prevents the color from darkening. Make-up also hides the effects of argyria on the skin. Using a 5% hydroquinone treatment on the skin decreases the amount of silver in the skin and improves the appearance of the skin. Laser therapy can also be used to treat the skin condition.

Argyrie forecast

  1. The skin disease is not life-threatening. Only cosmetic problems may arise, sometimes leading to emotional and psychological problems, reducing quality of life.

Complications of Metallic Tint

  1. The systemic toxic effects of silver may include the following:

Prevention of skin disease

  1. A patient can prevent argyria by using as little as possible medicines and nutritional supplements that contain silver. If a patient is exposed to silver or silver dust at work, the workplace should check that they comply with the exposure limits set by the government (a limit of 0.01 mg / m3 for metals and soluble silver compounds).

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