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New Mexico authorities urge clients of spa giving ‘vampire facials’ to get tested for HIV

Mythili Sampathkumar
After a spa's client contracted an infection following a 'vampire facial' others have been urged to get tested for HIV and hepatitis: SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

After a client contracted an infection following a “vampire facial”, New Mexico health authorities are urging other clients of the spa to get tested for HIV.

The VIP Spa in Albuquerque offered the procedure which involves drawing a person’s blood and reintroducing it into the face via micro-needles.

Lynn Gallagher, cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Department of Health, shut down the spa and said in the announcement: “It is very important that anyone who received a vampire facial or other injection-related service at the VIP Spa in May or June of 2018 come to the Midtown Public Health Office for free and confidential lab testing and counselling.”

The agency advised clients they could be at risk for other diseases like Hepatitis B and C as well.

The procedure involves drawing the blood and then running it through a centrifuge machine in order to isolate the plasma.

The plasma, which contains the bulk of nutrients and growth factors for new skin, is then spread on the face and using what is known as a micro-needle pen, reinjected into the face through small, fine punctures.

When done correctly, the plasma-rich protein facial should not expose clients to blood-borne diseases.

Spa owner Luly Ruiz told local news station KOAT-TV she only uses disposable needles for the vampire facial.

“I open them in front of my clients every time they come,” she said.

Dr Kenneth Mark, a dermatologist and professor in New York told CNN if “proper protocols are followed and there is no sharing of equipment for patients, then it should not be an issue”.

Not sterilising the needle pen between uses or using another client’s blood during the facial puts them at risk.

Vampire facials were made popular by celebrities like Kim Kardashian.