Earlier this week, the New Mexico Department of Health announced the closure of a spa in Albuquerque after one of their clients reportedly developed an “unspecified infection” sometime after getting a “vampire facial.” During an inspection of the facility on Friday morning, health department officials became concerned about the way the spa was managing the storage, handling and disposal of needles.
With incidents like the one at the Albuquerque spa making headlines, it is increasingly clear that there’s a need for more oversight and more standardization in the industry. Each state currently has different rules about how med spas can be run. Often, they don’t require a medical doctor to be on the premises, as long as one is available on call. These spas market themselves like salons but are actually offering potentially life-threatening procedures requiring knowledge of proper infection control practices.
Your doctor draws blood from your arm and spins it to separate out the plasma, which contains platelets. These are the proteins and growth factors that stimulate collagen production and thereby promote skin regeneration and rejuvenation. There are many kits available to isolate these growth factors, and platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Once collected, the platelet-rich plasma is injected back into your face.
At this point, you’ve probably seen photos and videos circulating on Instagram and Snapchat showcasing blood-splattered selfies, all taken in the name of beauty. What sounds (and looks) like an absolute nightmare is actually one of the industry’s most-requested treatments: the vampire facial. And, as with many seemingly crazy beauty habits and trends, we have the Kardashians to thank for it.
But simply getting facial injections of dermal filler and PRP does not mean it's a Vampire Facelift. The true "Vampire Facelift" was designed and trademarked Dr. Charles Runels of Alabama. In order to use the vampire term in connection with a facial PRP injectable procedure, professionals must pay for Runels' special training, and use his specific techniques and HA fillers.

If you’ve recently visited the Albuquerque spa in question and feel that you may not have received the most sanitary treatment, please contact us. We are offering free HIV and Hepatitis testing to anyone who underwent a treatment at that spa and is worried about their status. We believe your spa time shouldn’t be met with potential HIV exposure – talk about the opposite of relaxing!


In between microneedling different sections of my face Rhiannon continuously applied more plasma. It’s hard to explain how soothing this felt. Since the “serum” came from my own body it literally felt like it was coming home. Each time it touched my face my skin immediately felt calmed in a way I am 100% sure no product could ever reproduce. My face was pretty much in the middle of a battle with a microneedling pen so I’d like to think each application of plasma reassured my skin that this was all going to be over soon and everything was going to be okay.
First and foremost, Kim, as much as we love her (or hate to love her, or whatever), is dramatic AF. At no point during the treatment was I compelled to whimper and cry in pain. Sure, there were moments—most notably, when the Dermapen grazed over the area of my forehead just above my brows leading up to my hairline—where it felt like I was being scalped, but since it was so brief, my pain receptors didn’t even have the chance to trigger tears—or, more surprisingly, blood. 

If you haven't heard of the PRP facial, that's probably because it's more commonly called a vampire facial. What is a vampire facial? The name doesn't mean it's administered by vampires. (Sadly, it's not even administered by werewolves.) Below, we attempt to answer the most frequently asked vampire facial questions, with some help from two PRP-facial providers: Dr. Soroosh Mashayekh of Irvine Wellness and Cosmetic Clinic and Dr. Tali Arviv of Arviv Medical Aesthetics.
Typically, the process includes the initial blood draw, then running the blood through a centrifuge to isolate the platelets. You'll then receive microneedling or microdermabrasion just before your PRPs are slathered across your face. This can be accompanied with or without radio frequency, too. "It sounds gory and mysterious, but in fact, it is central to our evolving understanding of the physiology of the skin and advanced techniques with which to improve the quality of the skin," says Shamban.
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