Vampire Facial Suspected of Carrying HIV Risk! Here’s What You Need To Know About This Controversial Beauty Treatment
Vampire facials could increase HIV and hepatitis risk. (Photo Credits: Instagram, cosmedispa, Kim Kardashian)

The New Mexico Department of Health reached out to all the clients of a spa who developed infection to get themselves tested for HIV infection. The health officials have asked the clients who underwent the controversial beauty treatment known as vampire facial to test for the disease and other blood-borne infections since the Albuquerque spa that they frequented was suspected of carrying out unsanitary and unsafe practices.

The health department revealed that a client at VIP Spa developed an infection after undergoing a procedure. The department officials have been telling patrons at the spa also to get themselves checked for hepatitis B and C along with HIV. Lynn Gallagher, cabinet secretary at the New Mexico Department of Health stated, “It is very important that anyone who received a vampire facial or other injection-related service at the BIP Spa in May or June 2018 come to the Midtown Public Health Office for Free and Confidential lab testing and counselling.”

An inspection at the spa on Friday revealed that the institution was practising certain beauty treatments in a way which could have caused HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C infection. The health officials ordered the spa to be shut down after issuing them with a cease and desist letter.

What is Vampire Facial?

A recent fad in the beauty industry, vampire facial is also known by its less controversial name plasma-rich protein facial. The treatment has been around for a while and recently gained popularity after pictures of celebrity Kim Kardashian with blood on her face started doing rounds. The use of blood in the procedure gives the treatment its unique moniker. The treatment uses platelet-rich plasma or PRP in your own blood to fight skin problems such as ageing. Semen to bird poop, facial treatments that will gross you out.

PRP contains growth factors such as transforming growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor and insulin-like growth factor.

These growth factors work by stimulating various cellular mechanisms such as angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels), the production of collagen and the proliferation of different cells. Before being used for cosmetic procedures, PRP has been used in orthopaedics for regenerating cartilage, tendons, ligaments and bone tissues. PRP is also used in gastrointestinal surgeries, maxillofacial bone defects and wound healing.

Recently, PRP has attracted attention for its use for cosmetic uses, especially for skin rejuvenation. Human skin gets damaged over time due to environmental factors, smoking, exposure to toxic chemicals and the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Would you try a penis facial? Sandra Bullock does. 

When PRP rich in growth factors are applied to the skin, it stimulates collagen production and skin regeneration, thus effectively tackling age-related skin problems.

How Is The Procedure Carried Out?

Firstly, the client’s blood is harvested and spun very fast in a centrifuge to separate the platelet-rich plasma or PRP, which is the main ingredient. The skin is then prepped to inject this PRP through a microneedle device. It creates miniature holes or punctures in the skin through which the PRP seeps deeper. The plasma then does the rest.

Clients who routinely undergo the procedure swear by its effects since it reduces fine lines, pigmentation and wrinkles caused by ageing.

How Can It Turn Risky?

As effective as the treatment is, it is a procedure that should be carried out with the utmost care to prevent infections since it involves blood. If the equipment such as the centrifuge, the containers and the microneedle is not sterilised or if the blood used for the process is not the client’s own, then the professionals could end up risking the health of their clients with dangerous blood-borne diseases HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

(References: Can Platelet-rich Plasma Be Used for Skin Rejuvenation? Evaluation of Effects of Platelet-rich Plasma on Human Dermal Fibroblast; Blood-Derived Growth Factors)