Healthcare News

‘Vampire Facial’ Spa Closes After Potentially Exposing Clients to HIV & Hepatitis

VIP Spa, known for ‘vampire facials’ in New Mexico, has been shut down and clients have been urged to get tested for infections such as HIV or hepatitis after health officials discovered practices identified at the spa could spread disease.

The inspection was conducted after a client of the spa developed an infection officials believe originated from a spa treatment. Officials are reaching out to people who had any injection-related service at the spa, including “vampire facials,” a treatment where a person’s blood is isolated to obtain platelet-rich plasma, then injected into that person’s skin using a microneedling process. 

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A New Mexico spa was closed by health officials after an infection was possibly linked to a vampire facial procedure.

An inspection found that unsafe handling of needles at the spa could possibly have spread bloodborne infections such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C to clients, a spokesperson from the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH).

“Upon inspection, officials from the New Mexico Department of Health and New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department discovered issues with needle storage, handling, and disposal,” the spokesperson said.

Any one who received such treatment in May or June of this year is asked to visit the New Mexico Department of Health for free, confidential testing. According to Albuquerque’s KOAT-TV, spa owner Luly Ruiz said she only uses disposable needles. 

“I open them in front of my clients every time they come,” said Ruiz, who told the station she is cooperating with health officials. 

During a vampire facial, which is also known as a platelet-rich plasma facial, a person’s blood is collected from his or her arm and placed in a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins the blood to separate out the cells from the plasma, the pale-yellow, watery portion of the blood that contains a variety of proteins.

The platelet-rich plasma, which normally helps with clotting, is collected and injected into a person’s face or used as part of a microneedling procedure. In microneedling, a special penlike device is moved over the surface of the skin and tiny needles in the pen are used to rapidly puncture holes in the skin.

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Kim Kardashian

Yes, it hurts. Generally, a numbing cream is placed on the skin before the procedure. The procedure supposedly encourages the skin to produce collagen, and it is used to treat scars, wrinkles, and stretch marks. Microneedling can also be done without the addition of plasma.

Vampire facials can cost $1,000 or more. They have been popularized by celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Bar Refaeli, who have posted about them on Instagram. However, Kardashian also has said that she regretted getting the procedure.

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