Vampire Facials May Be Bloody Bad for You


A doctor applies blood plasma using a microneedling procedure during a PRP (platelet rich plasma) vampire facial. Johnce/Getty Images

There's a reason that beauty care is a $445 billion industry. There are no limits to the lengths some folks will go to in the effort to make their skin glow, their teeth shine and their hair look a little fuller and a little less gray. We've seen snake therapy, hay baths and bull semen face masks. Still, the latest trend in spa treatments may take the crown (for now) as the most bizarre way to tighten skin. At least a handful of spas around the globe are offering vampire facials, using clients' own blood.

This is how it works: Treatment providers draw a vial of blood from a person's arm and then spin it through a centrifuge, which extracts the platelet rich plasma (PRP). The person will then receive a microneedling procedure (also called microdermabrasion), in which tiny holes are pricked into the outer layer of skin. After that the PRP is smeared on the face. The idea is that blood platelets — which play an important role in repairing cells — can work their magic on damaged cells. The procedure got a lot of attention after celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Bar Rafaeli raved about their blood work on social media, though there is no evidence at all that it works.

And, before you go get your Count Dracula on, you may want to hear what the New Mexico Department of Health had to say about the treatments amid concerns about the spread of blood-borne diseases. Officials are concerned that folks who had vampire facials performed at one spa in that state may have been exposed to HIV and hepatitis. That could be one reason Kim K. says she'll never do it again and why you should probably think twice before doing it yourself.


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