Argyria: explanation about skin discoloration

It is often said about colloidal silver that it can cause blue-gray skin discoloration. A misconception that we would like to disprove. On this page, you can therefore read everything about argyria and what causes it.

What is argyria?

Argyria is derived from the Greek word αργύρος/ Argyros and is a dermatological condition. This disease is caused when you ingest too much elemental silver, silver dust, or silver compounds and causes a blue-gray skin color. This is because silver salts build up in the skin and are later oxidized by sunlight. This is best compared to the process of developing photos. You don’t wake up with a blue complexion right away. The first discoloration can be seen in the fingernails, then it spreads to your gums and face. Eventually, your whole body will be affected. The silver accumulates in the deepest layers of the skin and therefore cannot be cured. Not even by removing the top layers of skin or laser therapy.

The disease was first discovered around the end of the 19th century. This was because many silver solutions were used in medicine. In today’s society, Argyrie mainly occurs because many suppliers sell ionic silver as colloidal silver and people increasingly make colloidal silver themselves.

What causes skin discoloration?

To cut costs, colloidal silver is increasingly being made by people at home. You buy a generator on Aliexpress and can make an inexhaustible supply for a few bucks. Unfortunately, this is not the same as colloidal silver. It is impossible to make high-quality colloidal silver at home. Depending on the method, you can make between 80% and 100% ionic silver at home. To speed up the production process, kitchen salt is often also added to the substance. A big mistake that can cause argyria, among other things.

To better explain this, let’s first look at the difference between colloidal and ionic silver. Where colloidal silver is a stable product, ionic silver is not at all. As long as you use this on the skin, you won’t notice the difference. This changes as soon as chlorine comes in the vicinity. Ionic silver seeks out chlorine to create stability. Even after this connection, the two substances work very differently. The combination of ionic silver and chlorine creates silver chloride. A substance that is harmful to the body and which your body wants to get rid of as quickly as possible. As soon as the ionic silver has come into contact with the stomach acid, the product is immediately converted to silver chloride and no more silver ions can be released. This is different from colloidal silver. The colloidal particles remain in their original form and will not be changed by the stomach acid.

Adding table salt (sodium chloride (NaCl)) causes the same reaction. The ionic silver reacts immediately to the chlorine in the table salt. This process forms large particles of silver chloride, which can cause skin discoloration.