Clients who received a 'vampire facial' at this spa are being urged to get tested for HIV

Clients who received a 'vampire facial' at this spa are being urged to get tested for HIV

A spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been shut down by health officials this week after at least one client of the facility reported developing an "unspecified infection". In the wake of this news, all those who received treatments at the "VIP Spa" - including so-called "vampire facials" are being advised to get tested for HIV and hepatitis.

"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," stated Lynn Gallagher, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDH) Cabinet Secretary.

For those who are unfamiliar with vampire facials: the procedure involves withdrawing blood from part of a client's body, placing that blood in a centrifuge to separate the plasma, and then re-inserting the isolated plasma into the face.

Though it may sound like a very long and expensive way of getting blood from one part of your body to another, there is some logic behind the process. Plasma is rich in growth factors and proteins which may be instrumental in keeping skin looking fresh and youthful.

The way the plasma is returned to the skin is pretty gross, though, as Kim Kardashian once demonstrated in a mid-facial selfie:

Because the plasma needs to be distributed throughout the entire face, the client must have a microneedling or microdermabrasion treatment first. The plasma is then rubbed over the surface so that can be absorbed evenly.

The concern with VIP Spa is that the needles used to carry out this procedure (and, indeed, any other mildly-invasive treatments the facility offers) were not being properly stored, handled, or disposed of.

Michael Landen, an NMDOH epidemiologist, said this is "concerning because if needles aren't handled appropriately, you could potentially increase the risk of a blood-borne infection".

However the owner of the spa, Luly Ruiz, has insisted that she only ever uses disposable needs for the facials.

"I open them in front of my clients every time they come," she said. "I want everybody to be sure, everybody to be happy and to know they don't have anything."

Whether or not this is true remains to be fully investigated, but, in the meantime, it has since transpired that VIP Spa did not actually have a valid license to perform the gruesome facials.

What's more, because the spa did not have an up-to-date scheduling system, Ruiz has no idea how many people actually received a vampire facial.

Usually, this procedure is considered to be perfectly safe - though scientists have yet to definitely conclude whether or not the treatment actually helps at all towards keeping a person looking youthful. There have been some studies which show that younger blood can improve certain functions in an older organism's body, but because - in this treatment - the blood comes from the same person who is due to receive the facial, it is unlikely to actually change the skin's composition or appearance.