Skin inflammatory (nontumor)
Pigmentary disorders

Author: Cecilia Rosales, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 22 October 2018, last major update July 2011

Copyright: (c) 2002-2018,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Argyria

Cite this page: Rosales, C. Argyria. website. Accessed December 12th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Permanent discoloration of skin due to dietary, medicinal or industrial exposure to silver compounds
  • Silver deposition in skin and mucous membranes, liver, spleen, adrenal, muscle and brain
  • Silver deposits cause pigmentation of basement membranes of adnexal structures
Clinical features
  • Initially present in gingiva as slate blue line due to metallic silver and silver sulfide
  • Cutaneous manifestations follow a sun-exposed distribution
  • Nails can also be involved
  • Laser treatment may be useful (Int J Dermatol 2011;50:751)
Clinical images

Images hosted on other servers:

Various images

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Silver granules in vascular and adnexal basement membranes and adjacent to dermal elastic fibers
  • Granules are brown-black
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Tiny, gray-brown-black granules in dermis and concentrated near eccrine glands

Electron microscopy description
  • Membrane bound granules within macrophages, lysosomes or free within dermis