According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), almost 900 million people in the world suffer from a variety of skin disorders. Although skin conditions like acne, atopic dermatitis, and sunburn are some of the most common skin disorders, others like Blau syndrome, actinic prurigo, and argyria are considered to be some of the rarest kinds. And, a man named Paul Karason took the internet by shock after argyria caused his skin to turn blue.
Paul Karason became an internet sensation because of the unnatural colour of his skin. As per a report by Daily Star, Paul, who died at the age of 62 in 2013, was suffering from a serious case of dermatitis on his face. For treating the condition, he used to consume dietary supplements for over a decade. These supplements were infused with a compound that caused silver poisoning, resulting in Paul’s face turning blue.
Earlier, Paul used to be fair-skinned, with freckles. And, he had reddish-brown hair. However, things changed for the worse when he came across a magazine advertisement that promised readers of good health through the use of colloidal silver. Resting his faith in the ad, Paul consumed the product every day to achieve the desired results.
Because of its antibacterial characteristics, silver has been used to fight infections for thousands of years. It was, however, phased out when penicillin came into the market. Although silver continued to sell in America, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibited its use since the compound caused a dangerous disease called argyria.
Paul’s bluish-tinged appearance earned him the nickname of ‘Papa Smurf’, which he only tolerated when kids called him by that name. However, he was irked when adults did the same. “That was a nickname he didn’t appreciate, depending on who said it. If it was a kid who ran up to him saying ‘Papa Smurf’, it would put a smile on his face. But if it was an adult, well…” shared his estranged widow in a past interview.
Paul breathed his last on September 23, 2013. He was rushed to the hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest. Later, he succumbed to pneumonia, accompanied by a severe stroke.
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