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"Vampire Face" is massively popular – and potentially dangerous



An Albuquerque, New Mexico spa was served with a letter of resignation and was forced to close this month because it may have exposed a client to an infection. The guilty one? "Vampire Facial Treatments", a trendy skin care treatment that involves drawing blood from a client's body, placing it in a centrifuge, and then applying it on the face, presumably promoting cell renewal.

According to the New Mexico Department of Health, the activities of the VIP Spa exercise performed in a manner that "could potentially spread blood-borne infections such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C to clients." It's just an example of a trendy skin care that spreads to salons around the world faster than healthcare professionals can regulate them.

Vampire faces do not really involve blood intake

Vampire faces are not so new, but you can pencil much limited their popularity in recent years to a woman: Kim Kardashian. In 201

3, Instagrammed made a pretty shocking picture of her blood-sifted face as a way to promote that night's episode of Kourtney & Kim Take Miami (RIP), which led to a barring of news stores to ask "Uh, what's deal with this weird new skin care thing? "

The deal is this: Blood is drawn, usually from the client's arm, and then placed in a centrifuge to separate plasma and platelets from red blood cells. The resulting fluid is called platelet-rich plasma, or PRP. The plasma contains protein and other nutrients that will help stimulate skin cell growth and collagen. Then, the material is either applied locally or injected into the face using micronutrition techniques, which essentially involves puncturing the skin many times with superbitic needles. The theory is that the holes help the growth factors and other nutrients come into deeper layers of skin.

The idea is that this will cause the skin to look younger – and for skin care nerds, this makes a few hundred dollars price tag and a small amount of pain worth it. The current attitude toward skin care seems to be "Even though there have been no studies about whether or not this product will delete all my wrinkles, it may nevertheless, and that will not hurt me."

The proof is not clear for any of these assumptions in this case. PRP has been studied in a variety of medical settings to help heal, but evidence that it helps with skin rejuvenation is still relatively new. Dermatologists seem to agree that PRP can improve pores, acne scars and fine lines, which has caused vampire facials to become very popular, especially with spas like that in New Mexico.

However, as this case shows, the lack of regulation of these treatments can have serious consequences.

Albuquerque Salon Fiasco illustrates the need for more standardization

Events like the one in the Albuquerque spa are increasingly evident that there is a need for more supervision and more standardization in the industry. Each state currently has different rules about how spas can be run. Often they do not require a doctor to be on site as long as one is available on call. These spas market as salons, but actually offer potentially life-threatening procedures that require knowledge of proper infection control.

"In medical records you can have unskilled people do procedures without proper supervision in unsafe settings," explained Dr. Michael McGuire, communications director of the American Society for Esthetic Plastic Surgery, to Prevention . It was the Pennsylvania woman in 2001 who went to a medical spa for laser removal and ended with second-degree burns, and in 2004 a college student died of brain damage caused by a numbing gel at a medical spa in North Carolina. Other horror stories involve infections from tattoo removal services, fake Botox and dangerous allergic reactions from microdermabrasion.

Of course, these extreme examples, but as skin care becomes an increasingly popular interest, and with more people looking forward to more invasive procedures to look younger, we probably see more stories like this. And it may take unfortunate cases like that in New Mexico for more regulatory change to take place.


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