Whenever I handle raw poultry (chicken, turkey, duck, etc.) my nails, cuticles, and the skin under and around my nails turns black. This happens even after I thoroughly wash my hands, and when working with thoroughly cleaned utensils.

This has been happening to me for over ten years. So far, I've not been able to get an answer as to why, or how to prevent it.

  • 1
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    – derobert
    Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 19:04
  • That sounds very odd. Google turns up nothing. I can only think that the bacteria from the meat is reacting with something on your hands. Does it happen with other meats, say beef or pork? Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 13:00
  • I'm curious, if you do a 30-30-30 wash before and after handling the meat, does the problem go away? (30 second rinse, 30 second scrub with plenty of soap, 30 second rinse). That is a wash longer than the normal one you'd do for food service, but should get just about everything off without being ridiculously harsh. Also, you may want to try a different soap—it could be something reacting with the soap.
    – derobert
    Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 20:14
  • I suspect this is a fake question. No reference to the condition anywhere, no photos, no other participation on SA. They are just seeding an account for spam reasons latter
    – TFD
    Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 2:39
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    @pam - any update here? can we get a photo? Commented May 7, 2012 at 21:09

3 Answers 3


As a student of medicine I've never heard of any condition similar to the one you describe, but then there are still a lot of diseases, conditions and genetic prepositions unknown to man (and to medicine students). First I thought, it might be an allergic reaction to poultry proteins, but our skin normally doesn't have many immune cells on the outside (but can still result in a rash or excema) and you would probably have a really strong alergic reaction when eating poultry (that does not seem to be the case). What I would like to know is how long does your skin keep being black? Does your hands' colour change slowly or in a few seconds to a black? Do you have any other symptoms during contact to poultry or in general?

Anyhow there are few possibilities. Either something's really wrong with the meat you're buying (and I doubt that) or something's not alright with your skin. Maybe you have some kind of weird bacteria growing on your skin. There a lots of different bacteria physiologically growing on everyones skin ... stil this not seem normal to me. You should consider seeking professional help and talk to a general practitioner. Meanwhile I suggest using latex or nitril glove (you should be able to buy them in a drug store). This should prevent your hands from turning black and they still allow you to handle the meat precisely.


Wearing gloves should solve the problem.

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    It probably would work, but it would first sacrifice precision, and second, I find the question interesting even if there is a workaround for it.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 18:49
  • Sure gloves are an option... But I still need to find out hat the underlying issue is. Today I handled raw ground turkey, after cleaning up and washing, about 45 minutes later my hands were disgusting! My hands looked like I was digging in the dirt. Any more help is appreciated.
    – Pam
    Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 0:32

I have no idea what's causing this, but the only solution I can think of is to rinse your hands with a bleach solution afterwards. Sounds weird, but it'll kill pretty much anything.


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