‘Vampire Facial’ Spa Shuttered, Clients Tested for HIV, Hepatitis After Scare

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The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) published an alert Tuesday recommending HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C testing for clients who underwent recent injection-related procedures at an Albuquerque spa after one individual developed an infection.

The NMDOH launched their inspection of VIP Spa after one of the company's clients became ill with an undisclosed infection potentially related to the spa's handling of syringes.

Though it's unclear what procedure the individual in question received, VIP Spa is known for offering "vampire facials" — a procedure that involves removing, isolating and reinjecting a patient's blood into their face through microneedling or microdermabrasion, according to Health.com. Done properly, the platelet-rich plasma is supposed to leave the skin looking supple, refreshed and revitalized.

Questionable as the facial first sounds, celebrities and everyday folk flocked to their nearest beauty bar or spa after Kim Kardashian startled social media and TV viewers with an image of her undergoing the procedure in 2013.

As is true for many New Age beauty procedures, issues arose as salons began sidestepping usual hygienic practices and cutting corners minimize costs. Without mentioning what specifically went wrong at VIP Spa, the NMDOH warned the company's past practices "could potentially spread blood-borne infections." The reusing of needles is a well-known way to cross-contaminate.

The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department, Barbers and Cosmetologists Board issued Albuquerque's VIP Spa a cease and desist letter not long before the facility shuttered its doors and deleted associated social media accounts.

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