Photos of a man who inadvertently turned himself blue have resurfaced on social media more than a decade after he first came to the public eye. Paul Karason took a homemade dietary supplement for years to alleviate symptoms of arthritis, dermatitis and a range of other conditions, according to Daily Mail.
The supplement had an unusual side effect – the colloidal silver in the supplements turned his skin blue.
Karason’s story started going viral after the Washington native appeared on national television in 2008. His skin during the TODAY show appearance was a stark blue colour.
For a long time, Karason drank homemade silver chloride colloid after reading in a new age magazine that it had health benefits. He also rubbed the silver compound solution on his face to stop his skin from flaking.
Karason claimed that the homemade ‘remedy’ cured his acid reflux and arthritis. It also gave him argyria – a condition that causes blue or gray discolouration of the skin due to exposure to or ingestion of silver. The condition is irreversible.
Karason did not even realise his skin had changed colour until a friend pointed it out. “A friend that hadn't seen me in a while came by and asked me what I'd done to myself,” he told Inside Edition in 2008.
His blue skin earned him the nickname of ‘Blue Man’ and ‘Papa Smurf’, which Karason actually disliked. He also did not appreciate the stares he received. And although his skin colour meant he was never sunburt, when Karason was asked if he would go back to his original fair complexion, he said he ‘really didn’t know.’
Karason died in 2013 at the age of 62. He was hospitalised and being treated for pneumonia after suffering a heart attack.