Dear Matthew Alice: A friend says that if I were to 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. — Zora Blast, San Diego
Well, Zora, if you can avoid falling head first into the paint can, you’re probably pretty safe. From drowning, anyway. You’ve got other troubles, though they’re not quite 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. Once your pores are all clogged with silver paint, you won’t be able to sweat and 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 depending on what’s in that paint, you might even poison yourself if toxins are absorbed through your skin. Real silver is quite poisonous; if you’d settle for Navajo White, you might survive a little longer. All in all, the whole idea sounds pretty senseless to me, but I suspect that’s part of its charm, right?