There has been some frightening news recently regarding Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) facial treatments, frequently referred to as a Vampire Facial®. It was concluded that a spa in Albuquerque, NM was potentially spreading blood-borne infections due unsanitary practices. The spa was shut down, but it has now been determined that two patients linked to the treatment at the spa have contracted HIV.

These headlines have many people asking many questions about what a Vampire Facial® is and the safety of them. Quintuple Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Broadway and Registered Nurse and Advanced Injector, Rachel Ross provide some insight about the treatment – benefits and potential risks – and help to answer some frequently asked questions.

What is a Vampire Facial®?

The Vampire Facial®, or microneedling with PRP, uses your own blood to help stimulate the healthy activity of your skin cells. Blood is drawn from your arm and then spun in a centrifuge to isolate platelets from the blood, leaving platelet-rich plasma or PRP. Our highly trained medical professionals then use a microneedling device to insert the PRP into the skin by safely and precisely create controlled micro-injuries or a needle to inject the PRP directly into the skin. The platelets are rich in growth factors and help stimulate collagen and elastin production, breaking up scar tissue and bringing antioxidant and hydrating properties which make the skin look and feel brighter, smoother and more youthful.

The term “vampire facial” was founded and trademarked by Dr. Charles Runels from The American Cosmetic Cellular Medicine Association.

Are Vampire Facials® safe?

PRP therapy is using your own blood, so it is not fundamentally dangerous as there is no risk of an adverse or allergic reaction. But, this is a medical procedure that involves needles and microneedles which “injure” your skin and make you vulnerable to infection. It is imperative that you seek treatment from a reputable practice or medical spa with fully credentialed and expertly trained medical professionals.

So, what happened at the spa in New Mexico? A client of the spa reported an infection to the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) who performed an investigation and determined that staff were mishandling needles and biohazard materials. The spa was shut down and NMDOH is now investigating two cases of HIV infection among VIP Spa clients related to the PRP Therapy procedure. “The people doing the procedure were never part of my group, never trained with me, and were using my name illegally,” Dr. Runels told Rolling Stone.

Dr. Broadway, a quintuple board-certified plastic surgeon, provides oversight to all medical procedures at Broadway Skin Essentials. Rachel Ross, RN is administers the PRP therapy treatment for all of our patients. Dr. Broadway and Rachel are both preferred Vampire Facial® providers. For a full list of trained providers, click here.  

“It is vitally important to keep the work environment clean and instruments and equipment sterile. I began my clean & sterile habitual practices in nursing school and take great measures to ensure there is no cross-contamination. It is also important to know and understand the importance of credentials of the medical professional.” – Rachel Ross, RN

“The proper handling of needles or other instruments is an integral part of our everyday practice. Our patients can be assured that during any treatment in the operating room or our clinic, the safety of our patients and staff is the highest priority.” – Dr. Broadway

What happens after a Vampire Facial®?

Aftercare is as equally important as researching and finding a fully trained and credentialed provider. It is recommended that you leave the PRP on your skin for 12-24 hours, if possible, to achieve the full benefit. After rising off the PRP, it is advised to cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser and using a broad-spectrum SPF moisturizer to protect the skin. For added skin hydration, you may use a hyaluronic serum, such as HA5 from SkinMedica. You can resume your normal skincare regimen one week following the procedure.

Am I a candidate for a Vampire Facial®?

The answer is likely yes. PRP therapy works will all skin types and since it uses your own blood, so there is no risk of an allergic reaction. If you are okay with having your blood drawn and can handle the minimal discomfort of the microneedling and injections….and want to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, help firm the skin and improve texture and tone, then you are likely a candidate!

If you have any additional questions about the Vampire Facial®, or PRP therapy, please contact us. Our top Denver-area, board-certified plastic surgeons and highly trained and credentialed nurses are ready to help you achieve your desired look! Call 303.680.8989 or email info@broadwaymd.com to schedule your consultation.  

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