Argyria Photos

Doctor Ronald Mack saw cases of argyria as an intern at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. He says that argyric people look as if "they have been disinterred and yet walk around and act otherwise normal." Mack also says that, "The color can vary from blue to slate gray to a cadaverous black." [Toxic Encounters Return with Us Now to Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear Argyrol and Argyria; NCMJ Sept. 1988, Vol. 49, # 9; p. 451-2; Ronald B. Mack, MD]

When I was a teenager I weighed 98 pounds. This is how I looked right before I turned gray. My mother is beside me.
This is how I looked after I turned gray. The lady with me is a Mexican friend. The dog is Senna, my German Shepherd.

The photos above were taken in 1978 a few months before I was dermabraded. I am not wearing lipstick as one of the current silver salesmen believes. My lips appear reddish in many old photos. I would guess that it is becaise of the contrast with the gray.

When I was in my mid-thirties, I noticed that I had light spots on the part of my skin that was gray. I also had what looked like scratch marks that where also lighter than my original gray color. I had never considered being dermabraded since it was known that the silver was too deep in the skin to reach with that surgical procedure. But the only thing I could think of that had caused what appeared to be scratch marks were scratches from my cats when they were kittens. None of those scratches had been very deep. In fact, I didn't remember having been scratched at all. From that I concluded that they were very superficial. I also realized how stupid I had been all those years in not trying to have at least a test patch of skin dermabraded. In medicine you don't assume. You test. You experiment.

After a great deal of effort, I found a dermatologist willing to experiment on me. Many doctors that I spoke with refused saying that they were afraid that they would "ruin" my face. I told them not to worry. They had done that years before. I didn't expect the procedure to actually help me. Even if it could remove the silver from the skin on my face, I wouldn't let them do my upper and lower eyelids which would have resulted in my looking like a raccoon.

My entire face was dermabraded. In other words, a dermatologist sanded off the top layer of the skin on my face.

These photos were taken the day after the dermabrasion. My face is swollen but it didn't hurt.

This is how I look today. As a result of the dermabrasion I have pink splotches on my face. All though I weighed 110 pounds until I was in my mid-forties, in this picture I weigh about 135 pounds. I think that this additional weight may have lightened the gray discoloration the way the color intensity of ink is lightened when the dots on a copy are spaced farther apart.

This is a photo of a lady who had argyria. It was taken a few years before she died, around 30 years ago. Her whole body was affected. After considerable thought, her family has very kindly given me permission to post it here for educatonal purposes. I am very grateful to the family and know how hard it was for them to grant permission to post the photo. Many people with argyria have refused to be photographed even for medical journals. If anyone reading this has argyria and is willing to tell me about thier case I would greatlly appreciate it.

Since posting this photo, I have heard from people who have told me of an argyric woman who was "as gray as a mouse" and another who was so blue that a respiratory therapist who saw him sleeping thought that he had stopped breathing.

There is an article from the UK available through PUBMED that includes a photo of a man who developed argyria from a silver dietary supplement. For a fee, you can view it online.
Clin Exp Dermatol. 2003 May;28(3):254-6.


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