Argyria is a rare condition that causes the skin to turn blue or gray. This discoloration happens when the body comes into contact with excessive amounts of silver.

People come into contact with very small amounts of silver on a daily basis. It is present in food, drinking water, and even in the air that we breathe.

These trace amounts of silver are so small that the body can easily excrete them without experiencing any adverse effects. However, prolonged exposure to small amounts of silver or a single exposure to a large dose can increase the risk of argyria.


The single characteristic symptom of argyria is blue or gray discoloration of the skin.

Skin discoloration or hyperpigmentation may also affect the mucous membranes, such as the:

  • lips
  • gums
  • nasal passages

The conjunctival membranes of the eyes may also appear discolored.


Silver particles may enter a person’s body via the mouth or directly through the skin and mucous membranes.

Silver that enters the body via the mouth can cause generalized argyria. In generalized argyria, discoloration may affect the entire surface of the skin, as well as the mucous membranes and internal organs.

Silver that enters the body through the skin tends to cause localized argyria. With localized argyria, skin discoloration only affects the area that has come into contact with the silver particles.

Certain factors can affect the degree of skin discoloration. These include:

  • Levels of silver in the body: Higher levels of silver cause more significant discoloration.
  • Degree of sun exposure: Melanin is a natural skin pigment that causes the skin to darken on exposure to sunlight. In argyria, sun exposure causes silver particles in the skin to stimulate the release of excess melanin. As a result, parts of the body that receive more sun exposure may become significantly darker. These areas typically include the face, neck, and arms.
  • Time: In the early stages of argyria, the skin may turn a blue color. Over months or years, the affected area may darken to a slate gray.


Experts do not yet know the amount of silver that is sufficient to cause argyria.

However, people who have the highest risk of developing the condition are those with jobs or hobbies that involve prolonged exposure to silver. Examples include silver mining, photographic processing, jewelry-making, and soldering.

The following factors can also expose people to excessive amounts of silver:

  • long-term use of colloidal silver supplements
  • long-term use of topical silver-containing medications that the FDA have not approved
  • regular use of nasal sprays or eye drops containing silver
  • prolonged use of cosmetics containing silver
  • having silver dental fillings
  • regular treatment with acupuncture needles


Very few people have died from overexposure to silver. In fact, people with argyria are unlikely to notice any negative health effects as a result of their condition.

However, they may experience psychological distress due to the changes in their skin color. Some may feel depressed, anxious, or socially withdrawn, especially if treatment fails to deliver the desired results.

People who are feeling depressed or anxious should tell their doctor, who may refer them to a registered counselor or therapist. Talking therapies can help people work through any psychological symptoms that may develop.


  • wearing sunscreen with a high sun protection factor
  • limiting the amount of time in the sun
  • wearing protective clothing and eyewear when working with silver
  • avoiding medicines, supplements, and cosmetics containing silver


Few homoeopathic medicine that can be thought of:

Lachesis: Persons of a melancholy temperament, dark eyes, and a disposition to low spirits and indolence. Women of choleric temperament, with freckles and red hair (Phos.). Better adapted to think and emaciated than to fleshy persons; to those who have been changed, both mentally and physically, by their illness.  Purple, mottled, puffed; looks swollen, bloated.

Sulphuric acid: The "debility" common to acids shows itself here, especially in the digestive tract, giving a very relaxed feeling in the stomach, with craving for stimulants. Tremor and weakness; everything must be done in a hurry. Hot flushes, followed by perspiration, with trembling. Ecchymosis. Petechić. Purpura hćmorrhagica. Livid, red, itching blotches. Hćmorrhage of black blood from all outlets. Cicatrices turn red and blue and become painful.


Sulphur: Ailments from the abuse of metals generally.