Living with Argyria

A short photo essay of a woman whose skin turned gray due to Argyria.

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.

Wikipedia’s entry on Argyria.


  1. If you’re going to turn bluish-gray, you might as well aim for Chrysiasis (a dermatological disease caused by the prolonged ingestion of gold).

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