Vampire Facials: Is the Reward Worth The Risk?

Premier Health Now

Even though pursuing a more youthful look may be worth the great sacrifice and even greater expense, it could put your health at risk.

Unfortunately, this was the case when patrons of a New Mexico health salon were recently told they needed to be tested for HIV and hepatitis after receiving “vampire facials” from a facility that mishandled the needles used in the procedure.

A vampire facial uses microneedles to extract and then re-insert a person’s own blood into their skin at various locations on the face. It’s a procedure that has grown in popularity in recent years as celebrities like Kim Kardashian have documented and celebrated their own experience.

Premier Health Now spoke with infectious disease specialist Matthew Bauer, DO, of Middletown Infectious Disease Associates to learn more about the importance of limiting the risks of exposure to blood-borne illnesses.

Count Dracula? Count the Cost

“The first question a person needs to ask before considering a procedure like this is whether it is even worth taking the risk at all,” says Dr. Bauer. “If you feel it is worth it, then you want to be sure to take steps to make sure you are working with someone who is reputable and licensed to do it safely. Do your homework. This would also apply to places like tattoo parlors, which have also grown in popularity.”

Dr. Bauer strongly encourages screening for those who think they might have been exposed to HIV or hepatitis, since it is possible to be infected without displaying any symptoms for an extended period. This lack of detection can pose an even greater risk since it makes it easier to unwittingly spread the disease.

“If someone has been potentially exposed, they should be screened for these diseases right away, and then re-screened again within the next one to three months,” says Dr. Bauer. “By three months we usually have a pretty good idea if an infection is present or not. Individuals at higher risk due to behaviors such as IV drug use may require even more frequent testing.”