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Busting the Goldfinger Myth
Busting the Goldfinger Myth
catastrophegirl, who has an entertaining blog, has reminded me about the Goldfinger myth.
Of course you know the myth. Paint a girl gold, wait a couple of hours, girl is dead from skin suffocation. Some people even know that myth at the next level - that the actress, Shirley Eaton, who was the Goldfinger girl, did die from skin suffocation in real life.
If you've been reading my blog so far, you surely by now suspect that there's no such thing. So let me state it - there is no such thing as skin suffocation.
You can paint a girl gold safely. I expect you'll all have a wonderful experience if you do.
Yes there are risks, but if you use a little common sense you can avoid them all. The same as you should be doing in all your games.
Risk 1 is covering yourself in some sort of toxic material. cajunpet has provided some useful information in a comment to my post entitled "She really did do this" outlining all the horrid chemicals that they put in paints and the solvents you might think of to use it. I won't copy his comments here, read them in that posting. One day if I get bored enough I might pull it all together into an article.
Read the labels. Many paints you can buy in an art supply store are child safe. In fact the safety standards in this industry are higher than the cosmetics industry. There are all kinds of nasty allergens in lipsticks and other cosmetics.
Be attracted to products where the suppliers clearly have addressed the safety and allergic reaction issues.
The skin is not impenetrable, skin patches are a way to slowly introduce drugs after all. But if you surf around you'll find most of the literature on for example acetone poisoning, isopropanol poisoning etc. suggests that the toxic effects are caused by inhalation of the fumes rather than dermal penetration. Noone is going to test this conclusively.
If you're going to take a risk with anything slightly whiffy - the ammonia medium in liquid latex is one I've used - ventilate. Don't get any of it in your lungs. Artist's oils seem to come in two types, with a linseed oil medium, or with a sunflower oil medium (I stand to be corrected on this, I haven't researched it, I only know what I see in the shops). The linseed oil smells awful, I used to tub it into my cricket bat as a kid, I'd never rub it into myself. The sunflower oil based ones have only a slight, not unpleasant smell. Again read the labels.
Risk 2 is heat stress. The Mythbusters program addressed this one, three times so far. If you put a pleasant layer of paint on your skin, your body core will not magically overheat, and once again you will not die.
But heat stress is real enough. You're sweating mechanism is supposed to keep you cool. If you don't let it - by for example running round in the hot sun on a 40 degree day (Celsius temperatures here), or if you do do it and don't think that after a few minutes you'll want to jump into a pool or cold shower, then you will deserve your place in the Darwin Awards Hall of fame.
Body painting is its most delightful on those days of about 23 degrees, when it's just slightly too cool to be naked. It makes you feel just right.
It's also fun on those 40 degree days, when the delicious feeling of the paint drying kicks in very quickly - but get out of the sun long before you feel uncomfortable. It sucks on cold days.
Risk 3 is the stopping of your skins endocrinal functions. OK the skin pumps out a lot of waste products. The theory is that if you block your pores, that function will stop, and that can't be good. The experiences I've written about suggest that this effect is certainly not noticeable, even after being painted for days, and it's probably negligible to non-existent. If you're aiming to be painted for a few minutes, or a few hours to a day or two, then this is nothing to bother about.
Our skin is covered in this crap oozing from every pore. Paint yourself, it's so much sexier
Be safe, have safe words, have fun!