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This is Paul Karason who suffered from severe Dermatitis, which left his skin itchy, red, and swollen. He decided to treat (self medicate) his Dermatitis using Colloidal Silver, which he drank and rubbed on his skin. Over a time frame of several months his skin slowly began turning blue. The permanent transformation came about so slowly that he didn’t notice it until a friend asked what was happening to his skin. As a result Mr. Karason says that he doesn’t go out in public much and he’s only reminded of his condition when he’s in public and people stare or make comments about his blue skin. His girlfriend says (yes, he has a girlfriend) she doesn’t really notice or pay attention to her boyfriend’s blue skin. Blue skin doesn’t bother him; he’s still taking Colloidal Silver and he doesn’t have Dermatitis anymore. (Sources: Fox News, AP Wire & Sky News)

So, why blog on this? I’m a sociologist and I’ve studied body consciousness, cultural beauty norms and as a makeup formulator I’ve done hundreds of makeovers and I notice how critical we are of ourselves and our appearance.

I am at times amazed and sometimes saddened when my beautiful sisters sit down for a makeover and immediately start telling me what ‘feature’ or ‘flaw’ they want to cover, hide or make vanish. I have yet to have someone sit down for a makeover and say something like, “I have wonderful skin, can you accentuate that” or “My eyes are great can you make them more glamorous?”

At one our events a nine year old girl asked me for a makeover. I gave her some lip-gloss and put pink glitter on her cheeks. She was thrilled and came back every day of the three-week event. On the last day of the event she came by for some lip-gloss, glitter and to say thanks. As she left she said, “I never felt pretty before. You made me pretty.”

My heart sank as I explained that she was and always would be beautiful regardless of any makeup. Of course, I think that having someone pay attention to her contributed to her comment and feelings. Nevertheless we all have our beauty issues but I thought sharing Mr. Karason’s image and story might offer another perspective and offer the opportunity to reframe how we see our “flaws.” Maybe the next time I look in the mirror I’ll be happy with my features and I’ll be inspired know that if a man with blue skin can be happy then so can I.

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