Two individuals have examined optimistic for HIV after receiving “vampire facials,” a therapy that entails injecting blood platelets into an individual’s pores and skin, from VIP Spa, a clinic in New Mexico.
The spa in Albequerque was truly shut down final 12 months, following reviews affected person had acquired an “unspecified an infection” shortly after getting a vampire facial. An investigation by the New Mexico Division of Well being later found unsafe needle storage and dealing with practices at VIP Spa, thus growing the danger of the transmission of blood-borne infections.
The Division of Well being urged individuals who had acquired vampire facials on the spa in Might or June of 2018 to get examined for HIV and Hepatitis A and B. In the newest assertion from the New Mexico Division of Well being, spokesperson Kathy Kunkel mentioned that 100 former VIP Spa shoppers had already been given free testing for HIV and hepatitis A and B, but it needed to “be sure that testing and counseling providers can be found for people who acquired injection associated providers on the VIP Spa.” She mentioned that, for the reason that two instances concerned he identical pressure of HIV, it elevated the chance that the infections have been associated.
Happily, no extra former VIP Spa shoppers have examined optimistic for the virus for the reason that two optimistic exams, New Mexico Division of Well being media and social media supervisor David Morgan mentioned in an announcement to Rolling Stone. He added that whereas “there isn’t any laws immediately regulating these beauty procedures… the New Mexico Division of Well being encourages individuals to be taught all they’ll about such procedures earlier than present process them.”
Initially popularized by Kim Kardashian (who famously posted a selfie on Instagram after receiving the therapy), “vampire facials” are a colloquial time period for PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapies. The process entails drawing blood from the affected person’s arm and utilizing a centrifuge to extract the platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, from the crimson blood cells. The platelet-rich plasma is reportedly wealthy in progress components that enhance collagen and elastin ranges within the pores and skin, thus lending the affected person a more energizing, younger look. The affected person then undergoes microdermabrasion therapy earlier than the platelets from the blood are smeared throughout their pores and skin, type of like a face masks. “PRP harnesses the physique’s pure progress components and cytokines to restore and regenerate wholesome, new pores and skin tissue and stimulate collagen manufacturing,” explains Dr. Julie Russak, a dermatologist who affords the process at her follow in New York Metropolis.
PRP remedy is a well-liked process, but it surely’s additionally not a really well-researched one: though there may be some analysis to recommend that PRP remedy may help expedite the therapeutic course of following an damage, proof that it’s efficient at eradicating, say, wrinkles and wonderful strains is essentially anecdotal (although one very small 2018 examine did recommend it may lend itself to “textural enchancment of photoaged pores and skin“).
Though the process is supposed to be administered by a licensed medical skilled, rising demand has led to plenty of unauthorized clinics providing the therapy. This pattern has been a lot to the chagrin of Charles Runels, MD, the founding father of the Mobile Medical Administration (CMA) and, extra to the purpose, the founder and trademark holder of vampire facials and facelifts, the latter of which he first trademarked in 2010.
Runels doesn’t know precisely how the virus was unfold within the case of the New Mexico clinic, however he suspects the practitioners have been utilizing an off-brand machine which may’ve contained traces of blood from different sufferers and precipitated cross-contamination. “The individuals doing the process have been by no means a part of my group, by no means skilled with me, and have been utilizing my identify illegally,” Runels tells Rolling Stone. It’s also doable that the needles used within the therapy have been disposed of improperly. “We use solely disposable microneedling needle suggestions and sterilized kits opened on website for every particular person affected person. Each instrument utilized in procedures are sterile and disposed of after a single use,” says Russak. “PRP facials are extraordinarily protected to carry out when carried out so below these strict tips.”
Whereas may sound unbelievable that anybody would willingly enable an untrained spa worker to take their blood and smear it throughout their face, Runels says it’s shockingly frequent. “I despatched out 300 cease-and-desist letters final week. I spent $800,000 on attorneys final 12 months,” he says. He compares the proliferation of off-brand vampire facial purveyors to “if I had a hamburger stand and I put a McDonald’s brand on it, and I’m not McDonald’s. Possibly the burger is sweet, however perhaps it’s goat meat.”
This story has been up to date with a quote from the New Mexico Division of Well being.