With celebrities like Kim Kardashian West and Minka Kelly boasting the benefits of this in-office treatment, microneedling with PRP—also known as the Vampire Facial—has grown in popularity immensely over the last few years. However, even though results of this procedure are generally pretty great, recent news has some people reconsidering their anti-aging treatment of choice.
According to LiveScience, a spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico—which offers the Vampire Facial as a treatment in their facility—may have exposed clients to blood-borne infections like HIV or Hepatitis. Per a statement from the New Mexico Department of Health, officials conducted an inspection of the spa, named VIP Spa, after one of its clients developed a blood-borne infection that they believed could’ve been contracted during a Vampire Facial performed at the location.
Upon inspection, officials were alerted of unsafe practices within the spa that may have led to the infection. Unsurprisingly, the spa has been shut down indefinitely and clients who received a Vampire Facial at the spa during May or June of this year are being urged to get tested for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
The facial, which uses platelet-rich plasma (PRP) that’s drawn from a person’s own blood, uses tiny needles to prick the surface of the skin while applying PRP topically. Using PRP in tandem with microneedling boosts the skin’s regenerative abilities, promoting a reduction in wrinkles, melasma, sun spots and acne scars.
While it’s unknown to the public exactly how the infection was contracted within the spa, HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C are all spread through contact with bodily fluids—most commonly blood—which is why this treatment poses such a risk when performed under unsafe circumstances. However, as scary as this instance is, it shouldn’t discourage others from trying out this collagen-boosting procedure. Ultimately, this is simply a good reminder to do your research before trying any skin treatment and to always book your appointment with a board-certified doctor when it comes to in-office procedures. Better safe than sorry, right?
Updated on 4/26/21:
According to a recent article from toofab, the owner of the Albuquerque salon, Maria de Lourdes Ramos de Ruiz, has been charged with fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, racketeering, practicing medicine without a license, and 19 other felonies since 2018.
Due to her fraudulent activity and dangerous practices, her clients were at a much higher risk of contracting a blood-born virus like HIV. In a statement from last Wednesday, attorney general Hector Balderes advised previous visitors at VIP spa to contact his office. He also noted five questions to ask before considering a vampire facial: Does the establishment use universal precautions? What precautions are utilized? Who will be performing the procedure? Will it be performed by a licensed medical professional? Does the establishment have a medical director?
Whether you’re receiving a vampire facial or another treatment, these questions are a valid and important step to achieving a healthy and pleasing final result.