Kim Kardashian West is famous for going to extreme lengths in the name of beauty and in particular, for undergoing the so-called vampire facial in this quest. However, the treatment is being blamed for exposing two customers at a now-closed New Mexico spa to HIV infections, after the state health department called for previous clients to get tested for the HIV virus and other blood-borne illness.
Last year, health officials at the DOH advised any VIP Spa clients anyone who received injection-related services at the VIP Spa in Albuquerque to be tested for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C — particularly those who received the services in May or June.
Among those services is the spa’s “vampire facial,” in which a customer’s own blood is drawn, and the platelet-rich plasma from that blood is injected into the customer’s face. Anyone who had undergone micro-needling was also put on notice by health officials and provided with free-testing.
Even in a sterile medical environment, anything calling for the use of needles and blood requires strict protocols, which are unlikely to be employed at a non-medical beauty spa.
Proponents of the so-called vampire facial believe the invasive treatment has anti-aging benefits. In the lead up to her wedding to Kanye West, Kim shared a video on social media undergoing the frightening procedure. Nowadays, Haley Baldwin has spoken out about her penchant for the plasma-rich treatment.
When I explain this to people, they think I sound insane,” Baldwin told Teen Vogue. “[On my skin] I use a range of products by Barbara Sturm. She took blood from my arm and put it into a machine that spins it and separates the plasma from your blood before putting it into a lotion for your skin.”
There is currently minimal evidence to back-up the claims that injecting platelets into the skin might produce an anti-aging effect - as advertised by plastic surgeons and the like. Practitioners say the “growth factors” contained in blood platelets stimulate collagen growth in the face - erasing fine lines and wrinkles - but the technology can't be substantiated with scientific facts. Previously, at least, the procedure was thought to be relatively harmless, but the warning from the New Mexico DOH suggests there might be more risk involved than we thought.
This article originally appeared on marie claire.