What to Know About Vampire Facials, the Treatment That May Be Linked to Two Cases of HIV

What to Know About Vampire Facials, the Treatment That May Be Linked to Two Cases of HIV More [MUSIC] So I’m here with Dr. Erica. What is the first step of this magical process? So the first step is we clean your face, and then we put a nice thick layer of topical anesthetic so that we get you nice and numb so that you don’t feel the procedure. Great, I would prefer not to feel it. [LAUGH] [LAUGH] Okay so my face is pretty numb right now. I have been numbing for about an hour and I can hardly feel it. So what is the next step? The next step is to draw blood so we can put it down in the centrifuge to get that plasma. Okay lets do it So this is the centrifuge, we put the blood in here And gravity will actually pull the red blood cells all the way to the bottom. And on top will be the plasma that we use. [MUSIC] So now we’re gonna do Through injections of concentrated PRP. This is all plasma, platelet-rich plasma. So we want to do the injections under your eye so that we can get rid of that undereye circle that people have, that they complain about, the discoloration and Since a lot of times you can’t put Botox right here to get rid of those fine lines this will improve any fine lines that you have. So we’re gonna do the fine lines around the mouth. We’re also injecting anywhere I see like any hyper-pigmentation. This is one of the best things you can do for acne scars. [MUSIC] Alright, so this is the microneedling device. So this tool right here is going to make tiny punctures all over the skin? Exactly. I actually just put this on like a serum, and then the microneedle pushes it in as we go. Let’s do it! How’s that? Not bad? Not bad. Why is this procedure so popular and what are some of the benefits? So I think it’s really popular because it’s new but for me I actually think this is one of my favorite procedures because it really doesn’t have side effects. Except for, you know, some redness, a little bit of bruising, because it’s perfectly safe, using your own blood, with no additives. I think a very underappreciated procedure, because Cuz it’s so wonderful and it’s so effective and completely organic and natural. In this type of situation where there is no injury to the skin, we actually are creating injury. The micro needle is causing physical injury to the skin which induces a inflammatory reaction that then induces healing that creates more collagen which thickens the skin makes it look younger, more supple. And then the PRP compounds that effect by releasing a ton of growth factors that then can not only regenerate your own collagen but can also regenerate blood vessels, can heal scars, can actually Grow hair back, depending on where you put it and what you want it to do. It has like a stem cell like property to it, which is incredible. Very very safe procedure. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] What is the typical post-procedure downtime? Most people the downtime is between 24 to 72 hours of redness. You’re supposed to leave this on your skin the entire day. Don’t wash your face. I like that because I think that as the holes heal you have this PRP sitting on your skin. For the rest of day. But obviously, if have something to do, I recommend keeping it on for 4-6 hours if you absolutely have to wash it off later. I’m just putting on a little hyaluronic acid, by the way, to just kind of smooth out and moisturize the skin and draw some water to it. For those at home who wanna try this procedure, what is the average cost? Each one starts at $1,000 and we recommend three treatments between four and six weeks apart. So I always do this nice cooling facemask afterwards to kind of cool the skin down and decrease that redness before people leave so they don’t look too scary. I’m really excited for the results My face feels a little red. It actually feels like I have a little bit of a sunburn right now, but it wasn’t bad at all. My skin was numb I hardly felt a thing, and that was a breeze. This facial is extreme because you Are extracting your own blood from your body and plus, there’s a little bit of downtime with this one. You can’t just walk right out of the office and expect to look glowing and radiant. It does take a little bit for your skin to heal. I experienced a little bit of redness for about three to four days. I felt like it worked best around my eyes. I was having some wrinkles that were forming and some dark circles and I feel like it really adjust that The best. I would definitely get this facial again. In fact, I want to get one every year for the rest of my life. [LAUGH] [BLANK_AUDIO]

Earlier this week, it was reported that two clients of a now-closed spa in New Mexico had tested positive for HIV, causing the state’s health department to continue to urge previous customers to get tested for HIV and hepatitis.

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) said in a statement on Monday that it is currently investigating the two cases of infection among clients who had injection procedures done at the VIP Spa in Albuquerque between May and September 2018.

Health officials are especially encouraging people who had gotten a vampire facial at the spa to get tested for HIV. The two clients who are HIV positive also have the same HIV virus type, which makes it more likely that the infections are the result of a procedure performed at the spa they both went to.

Vampire facials , also known as the platelet-rich plasma facial, involve drawing small amounts of your own blood, separating the platelets, and injecting them into your face through micro-needles.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons , PRP treatments are also meant to help treat sprained knees and chronic tendon injuries. However, it’s also used to enhance your skin — Erica Walters, MD , medical director at Park Avenue Skin, told InStyle in 2017 that PRP injections remove fine lines around the mouth and help eliminate any lines or bags around the eyes.

"It also helps to reduce hyperpigmentation and any acne scarring,” she said at the time.

The treatment has gotten so trendy in recent years that even Kim Kardashian has tried it, in a memorable episode of Kourtney and Kim Take Miami. (She later admitted that it’s the one treatment she would never do again.)

As you can tell, it’s probably not for the faint of heart. And while it seems extreme, the vampire facial is usually safe when done properly. But if clinics don’t sterilize the micro-needling pen or dispose of it between facials, that could spread infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C can spread through injuries from sharp objects, such as needlesticks, as well as mucous membrane, and skin exposures.

The VIP Spa closed back in September 2018, when officials "identified practices that could potentially spread blood-borne infections, such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C to clients," according to the New Mexico Department of Health. When news first broke of the spa’s closure, Michael Landen, MD, epidemiologist at the NMDOH, told local news network KOAT that upon inspection, he was concerned with the way the spa stored, handled, and disposed of needles.

"That’s concerning, because if needles aren’t handled appropriately, you could potentially increase the risk of a blood-borne infection," he said at the time.

Infections like this are rare, but if you want to take precautions, the NMDOH advises, "Any persons desiring cosmetic services involving needle injections should verify the services are being provided by a licensed medical provider."

In other words, if you’re curious about the vampire facial (or any treatment at all, for that matter), make sure you book an appointment with a trusted, licensed professional.

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