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With his beard and blue skin, Paul Karason looks like a real-life Papa Smurf! After the death of his father 18 years ago, the northwest Washington resident developed a severe case of dermatitis, which causes itchy, reddened skin. Most people would have seen a doctor or bought an over-the-counter remedy, but not our Paul. He developed his own remedy using colloidal silver that he prepared himself using electrolysis (colloidal silver is silver suspended in a liquid, which was distilled water in this case).
In 1999, the FDA banned the medical use of silver because…you guessed it…it can turn people blue! This blue skin discoloration is called argyria and is caused by light reacting with silver, similar to the reaction that occurs in photography. Unfortunately, Paul learned this the hard way. He will also have this blue skin for the rest of his life because the silver collects in the skin and other organs and does not go away! Luckily, apart from his blue skin, he has no other serious side effects caused by the metal, which can be poisonous and cause organ damage in high doses. He only has to deal with his strange appearance in public, which he no longer finds to be a problem. I’m pretty sure he couldn’t have been too thrilled when Avatar came out though..
Read more about his blue skin here.