Blue Skin Disorder Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Take a look at the blue skin disorder pictures below and you will find that this is one rare disease that can make a lot of people curious.

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Blue skin disorder or argyria is a disorder caused by too much exposure to or contact with silver salts or the silver element, silver compounds and silver dust. The condition is manifested by the staining of the skin and mucous membranes to a blue-gray color or darker, sometimes nearing black. This is produced by silver deposition. The silver element maybe accumulated through activities or constant work involving silver such as industrial exposures; or it can be acquired from medications that contain silver salts.

Amongst the causes of blue skin disorder, the most common one is the mechanical permeation in the skin by the silver particles to workers who are involved in silver refining, metal alloy and silverware manufacturing, silver mining, electroplating solutions, photographic processing and metallic films on china and glass. Dietary supplements that contain silver salts are the colloidal silvers which are marketed for use against herpetic infections, diabetes mellitus, AIDS and cancer. There are cases connected to prolonged usage of silver salts in eye drops, irrigation of nasal or urethral mucous membranes, and too much use of remedies for oral smoking which contain silver acetate. The disorder has also been linked to dental and surgical procedures such as silver amalgam-tattooing and the silver sutures that are used in the surgery of the abdomen.


When identifying if the person is really experiencing blue skin disorder or not, one should keep note of how the symptoms started. It is necessary to know the background of the patient, especially where they are constantly exposed to since the cause of argyria is by the silver salts. The job they are working on or medical supplements with silver element should be noted down carefully.


Majority of the first symptoms of the blue skin disorder appear literally on the skin but not abruptly; they gradually progress until the color of the skin goes darker and darker.

• In the gums, there will be a development of a gray-brown staining and then the skin will follow afterwards. The pigmentation of the skin is commonly metallic blue-gray or slate-gray in color and it will be very obvious after a few months, but most of the time the clinical appearance of it takes a number of years and it still depends on the level of exposure.

• There are some patients who develop a slate blue-gray coloring of the skin.

• Hyper pigmentation is very obvious on the parts of the skin that are exposed to the sun, particularly the hands, nose and forehead.

• The mucous membranes, nail beds and sclera may also become hyper-pigmented.

• Blue discoloration tends to appear on the viscera including the gut, liver and spleen. They are only evident during surgery of the abdomen or during postmortem examination.

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There have been speculations as to why the only parts of the skin that gets discolored are the ones that are exposed to the sun when the granules of silver are evenly dispersed all throughout the skin. There are different theories today questioning why the blue-gray coloration is limited only to the sun-exposed areas. There are some theories that state that the silver compounds react and blend with the proteins present in the skin. The silver is then transformed into its basic form, the elemental silver, by reaction with the sunlight. The development is comparable to the photo imaging process. Other theories oppose that the silver element combined with the light triggers melanogenesis which then results to the blue-gray pigmentation.


Through medical treatment:

• Opaque cosmetics and sunscreens may prove helpful in reducing the risk of pigmentary darkening and also aid in the covering of obvious discoloration of the skin.

• There have been attempts of chelation in order to remove the silver from the skin although this method has proven to be ineffective.

• Depigmenting preparation treatments may not provide positive results although there are some reports noting about five percent of the hydroquinone treatment may lessen the amount of silver granules around the sweat glands and in the upper dermis of the skin and also lessen the amount of melanocytes.

Through surgical treatment:

• There have been reports on treating blue skin disorder caused by the ingestion of colloidal silver using Q-switched 1064-nm Nd: YAG laser.


It was during the 1990s that the use of colloidal silver was presented as an alternative medicinal supplement although there is nothing to prove its effectiveness to the body’s health. Medical experts had advised consumers against using preparations of colloidal silver. These recommendations were even documented in medical literature because of the lack of evidence to prove the effectiveness and the side effects that may arise due to the use of colloidal silver.

There have been a number of consumers taking colloidal silver as a way to maintain good health, but they are considered unsafe and even ineffective contrary to the health benefits majority of manufacturers claim. The element silver is not even essential to the body to begin with.

Majority of manufacturers contend that colloidal silver boosts the immune system. They claim that it is the best cure-all medicine; it fights against viruses and bacteria and even treats various diseases such as cancer, shingles, AIDS, HIV, herpes, prostatitis and eye diseases. These claims are not backed by scientific studies nor are they published in reputable medical books or journals. Even the FDA or the Food and Drug Administration has alerted and warned manufacturers of distributing products with colloidal silver content and has taken action against these.

Though there is no clear evidence how much harm it affects the body once it comes in contact with silver compounds or elements but this will accumulate within the tissues of the body for months and even years. Most of the time the result of accumulated silver salts in the body is the blue skin disorder or argyria which changes the color of specific parts of the body like the gums, nails, internal organs, eyes or the skin. Though there are no painful side-effects within the body, it may give the person a real cosmetic nightmare since discoloration caused by silver salts are irreversible, even when one stops ingesting silver-containing medications and preparations

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