Author Affiliations: University of Arizona Affiliated Hospitals (Dr Gottesman), Pima Dermatology and University of Arizona College of Medicine (Dr Goldberg), Tucson.
Argyria is a mucocutaneous discoloration caused by exposure to airborne silver particles or long-term ingestion of ionized silver solutions. It is intriguing in the sense that it creates a profound skin color change. It is known that ionized or colloidal silver particles have the highest affinity for dermal elastic fibers and eccrine glands.1 Once the colloidal silver particles deposit around eccrine glands, they are indeed colorless. It is in the dermal matrix where the silver particles combine with elemental sulfur to form black silver sulfide particles facilitated via a UV-induced reduction reaction.2
Gottesman SP, Goldberg GN. Immediate Successful Treatment of Argyria With a Single Pass of Multiple Q-Switched Laser Wavelengths. JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(5):623-624. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.234