What is vampire facial? The viral beauty trend that left 3 women infected with HIV

‘Vampire facials’ have been a topic of discussion recently, but unfortunately, it’s not for the right reasons. There were reports of three women testing positive for HIV after getting the ‘vampire facial’ from an unlicensed medical spa in New Mexico.

In the era of plastic surgeries, cosmetic procedures have become increasingly advanced and accessible, giving individuals an opportunity to alter their appearance in various ways. Almost any cosmetic condition can be handled with a variety of procedures, ranging from non-surgical treatments like botox and dermal fillers to surgical operations like facelifts and breast augmentation. Choosing a skilled, experienced surgeon and going through extensive pre-operative testing are essential elements in guaranteeing a safe and successful procedure.

‘Vampire facial’, a non-surgical treatment has gained popularity over time. It is a popular cosmetic procedure that utilises ‘platelet-rich plasma’ [PRP] to rejuvenate the skin. The public became curious and interested in ‘vampire facial’ when celebrities started promoting it.

What’s the process involved? 

The process begins with drawing blood from the patient’s arm. The blood drawn is then placed in a centrifuge machine, which spins at high speed to separate the components of the blood. This process isolates the PRP from other components. While the PRP is being prepared, the patient’s face is prepared by cleansing it thoroughly. 

Then a microneedling device is used to create tiny, controlled injuries on the skin’s surface. Microneedling stimulates the skin’s natural healing process and enhances the absorption of PRP. Once the PRP is ready, it is applied topically to the skin or injected into specific areas of the face, depending on the patient’s needs and the practitioner’s recommendation. After the procedure, one can experience some pain, bruising, and swelling. These usually disappear within a few days.

What’s the goal of the treatment?

The theory behind the vampire facial is that the growth factors and proteins in PRP help promote skin renewal, improve overall texture and tone of skin, and stimulate the synthesis of collagen. The goal of treatment is to maximise the benefits of both PRP application and microneedling for skin renewal. However, it’s very important to consult a qualified and experienced practitioner to ensure safety and effectiveness.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is believed to be the first documented case of people contracting the virus through a cosmetic procedure with needles. In its morbidity and mortality report, released this week, the CDC said that an examination of the centre from 2018 to 2023 revealed that it appeared to have reused single-use disposable equipment.

 Just like any other cosmetic surgery, the success of ‘vampire facials may vary based on a number of factors, including skin type, general health, and age. To guarantee a safe and satisfying result, possible risks and side effects should also be discussed with the practitioner in advance.