Vampire Facial & HIV: Risks, Precautions, and Possible choices

Facials can remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, and increase circulation, which delivers more nutrients to skin cells. But this multi-step skin care routine isn’t the only type of facial available. You could also get what’s called a vampire facial.

This facial involves extracting some of your own blood, separating the plasma from the blood, and injecting the plasma back into your skin using a microneedle. The plasma stimulates healing, thus promoting the growth of healthier skin cells.

This procedure has proven popular, even being used by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian. But because these facials involve blood and needles, you might be concerned about the risk of contracting HIV.

Generally speaking, if a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist gives you a vampire facial, the risk of transmission is very low.

Keep reading to learn more about vampire facials, precautions to be aware of, and alternatives that deliver the same result.

Safety concerns about vampire facials are understandable, and the facials aren’t without risks.

In 2018, the New Mexico Health Department closed a local spa after two cases of HIV transmission were possibly linked to vampire facials. Clients of the establishment had received injection-related procedures.

Transmission of bloodborne disease is possible if the equipment is not sterilized.

Others who visited the spa for services involving injections were urged to get tested for HIV and hepatitis.

Despite risks, vampire facials are generally safe. However, these facials aren’t FDA-approved.

If you choose to get a vampire facial, pick a qualified professional for the treatment. Also, because the facial involves blood, establishments need to adhere to strict sterilization techniques.

This is one of the best ways to prevent disease spread. The person completing the treatment should wear gloves and properly sterilize their equipment.

Although many spas offer vampire facials, it might be safer to get one from a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist — someone who’s familiar with these types of skin treatments.

Vampire facials are increasing in popularity at spas and dermatology offices, but there’s limited research on how effective they are. Despite insufficient research specific to these facials, studies support the use of platelet-rich plasma for skin rejuvenation.

In one study, participants received 3 milliliters (mL) of intradermal injections of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for facial rejuvenation. They had PRP injected in one cheek, and sterile normal saline injected in the other cheek.

Six months after only one treatment, participants stated that the cheek treated with PRP improved more significantly than the cheek treated with normal saline.

Results of a vampire facial vary from person to person. Also, some results aren’t immediate. You might immediately notice smoother skin, but it can take several weeks to see skin texture improvements.

Vampire facials have many potential benefits. Spas and dermatologists use the facials to reduce wrinkles, tighten skin, lessen acne scars, and even improve skin plumpness.

Although a vampire facial might improve collagen levels and skin elasticity, reduce acne and fine lines, and improve hydration, you don’t have to get a vampire facial to enjoy these results.

If you don’t want to risk infection — or if you’re uncomfortable using microneedles — other procedures might provide similar results.

Chemical peel

This alternative procedure can improve your skin’s appearance, reduce scars, and promote a smoother texture. Chemical peels remove the outermost layer of your skin. When the skin grows back, it’s smoother and more radiant.

Laser treatments

Another alternative to a vampire facial is laser treatment. The non-invasive procedure uses wavelengths of light to stimulate your skin tissue. The procedure is often used to diminish fine lines, stretch marks, and birthmarks. It can also remove unwanted hair.

Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure that also removes the top layer of skin. It’s used to exfoliate and improve signs of aging. It can also even skin tone and improve wrinkles, fine lines, and sun damage.

Vampire facials are a known procedure at some spas and dermatology offices. But given the risk of infection and the fact that the procedures involve microneedles, you might prefer alternatives to get similar results of smoother, radiant skin.

However, if you choose a vampire facial, go to a qualified professional. They will take the appropriate measures to sterilize equipment — and keep you safe.

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