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Dear Matthew:

A friend says that if I paint myself with house paint, I would drown. Could this be true? I wanted to paint myself silver, but now I'm not so sure.

-- Cindy, San Diego

If you can avoid falling head first into the paint can, you're probably safe from drowning. But you will have other problems, though not so dramatic. One of your skin's major functions aside from keeping your insides in, the outside world out, and the cosmetics industry in business is body heat regulation. Clog up your pores with silver paint and you won't be able to sweat, so your circulatory system won't be able to radiate body heat. If your innards get unacceptably warm, you might suffer something akin to heatstroke. You'll probably begin to feel woozy from electrolyte imbalances in your bloodstream, and you might even poison yourself if toxins are absorbed through your skin. Real silver is quite poisonous; if you settle for Navajo White, you might survive a little longer. The whole idea sounds pretty senseless to me, but that's part of its charm, right?

Oy vey! Silver

Hi, Matt. "Real silver is quite poisonous..." A matter of relativity, this statement. Bacteria, mold, viruses are all quite allergic to silver. Please don't overlook pure silver's role in protecting the body from myriad attackers, providing burn relief and purifying water. For starters, Scientific Amercan: 1914: "I know of no microbe that is not killed in laboratory experiments in six minutes [with "colossol" silver]. And http://www.silverlon.com: "...[Trademarked] Silverlon an Acticoat are silver coated polymeric substrates that are applied directly to the wound surface. The fundamental similarity of the Silverlon and Acticoat is based upon the biological activity of silver."... Not to even get into the benefits of colloidal/ionic silver use. That phrase "Born with a silver spoon in one's mouth"? Had to do with pacifiers being made of silver at one time, to ensure baby's health. The Lone Ranger had it goin' on!

--jr, Oceanside.

This is in response to our discussion last week of the pros and cons of painting your entire body silver. We voted against it. But now we learn that when you die of paint-clogged pores, your body is entirely fungus free. Some benefit, I guess. We passed the letter on to our quibblemeister, thinking he might have a word or two about that "silver spoon" business. He shoved a note back under his door saying something to the effect that those born with silver spoons in their mouths are rich, not sterile. The dirt-poor used wooden spoons, those with more wherewithal used pewter, the rich used silver. They may have lived longer, but probably not because of cutlery.

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