New Mexico ‘Vampire Facial’ Spa Closed After Potential HIV & Hepatitis Exposure, Clients Urged To Get Tested

The spa, which performs a treatment made popular by Kim Kardashian, is under investigation for blood handling practices.

Woman receives facial injection treatment
Poznyakov / Shutterstock

The spa, which performs a treatment made popular by Kim Kardashian, is under investigation for blood handling practices.

It was reported Tuesday by Science Alert that an Albuquerque spa has been shut down by health officials and that those who received treatments from the spa recently should undergo blood tests for possible HIV and hepatitis infections. VIP Spa is known for its offering of a treatment nicknamed “vampire facials,” which is a procedure that involves the use of the patient’s blood. Apparently, blood is withdrawn from the patient with a needle. Then, the blood’s component called platelet-rich-plasma is separated and applied to the patient’s face, which has been prepared via microdermabrasion or microneedling. Science Alert says that the spa was not licensed to handle blood procedures, which should only be performed by a certified physician.

Furthermore, a patient of the clinic recently was diagnosed with an undisclosed infection, which brought the spa under investigation by the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). While the investigation takes place, the spa is mandatorily closed and its patients have been recommended to seek blood screening for common bloodborne pathogens, sources say. The NMDOH issued a statement Monday about the event.

“It is very important that anyone who received a vampire facial or other injection-related service at the VIP Spa in May or June of 2018 come to the Midtown Public Health Office for free and confidential lab testing and counselling.”

NMDOH epidemiologist spoke with KOAT Action News regarding the concerns raised by VIP Spa’s unregulated handling of blood. Apparently, there is concern that the establishment may not have practiced health-regulated protocol in the storage, handling, and disposal of needles.

“That’s concerning because if needles aren’t handled appropriately, you could potentially increase the risk of a blood-borne infection,” Landen told reporters.

Luly Ruiz, the owner of VIP Spa, denies that she used any unsafe practice in her facility, though she is reportedly cooperating with the health department’s investigations. Ruiz apparently told KOAT Action News that she only uses disposable needles, which she believes makes her practice safe.

“I open them in front of my clients every time they come…I want everybody to be sure, everybody to be happy and to know they don’t have anything,” she confidently said.

“Vampire facials” have been around for a while, but gained much attention in 2013 when socialite Kim Kardashian shared her experience in undergoing the procedure. Seen above is an Instagram post which the star shared while receiving treatment. According to Allure, Kardashian is a fan of any cosmetic treatments that enhance her skin and reported great results from the treatment. However, this March, she spoke of regrets for undergoing the bloody procedure.

“A few years ago, I heard about a ‘vampire facial,’ and I was so intrigued…It was really rough and painful for me. It was honestly the most painful thing ever! It’s the one treatment that I’ll never do again,” Kardashian wrote on her website.

The use of platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) supposedly assists in regrowth of unhealthy skin cells when applied to open skin. Most commonly, it is used on the face, but it has also been used on other areas of the body as well.