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Are facials with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment safe? Recently, “vampire facials” made the news with confirmation of three patients contracting HIV after treatment. This has led to some questions about safety with cosmetic procedures, specifically those including a PRP add-on.

What is a vampire facial, and how did this happen? 

Vampire facials are skinpen/microneedling treatments that use a Patient’s platelet-rich plasma (PRP) topically during the procedure to stimulate healing. It is commonly referred to as a vampire facial due to the appearance of blood due to pinpoint bleeding during the microneedling treatment.

How could this have been prevented? 

This could and should have been prevented. According to the BBC, in the case of this spa, a CDC investigation discovered that it was unlicensed and that it had “multiple unsafe infection control practices.” Patients are putting their trust in their providers. They deserve great results and safety from their providers, and I am sorry for the patients who were let down. The fault is not on the patient; this spa should not have operated as it was. My recommendation to patients is to ensure that the provider/facility you choose for your treatment is appropriately licensed and that all providers performing these treatments have a license and have been properly trained. 

What security measures do you have to ensure this does not happen at HerMD? 

At HerMD, we hire experienced, licensed medical providers who are thoroughly trained in every treatment or procedure they perform. We also always follow strict guidelines when it comes to working with blood and blood products, as well as strict aseptic guidelines.  All of our supplies used for drawing a patient’s blood are single-use and will only be used once on one patient.  Our PRP collection tubes are designed specifically for PRP, are sterile, single-use, and stay closed entirely even after spinning the blood product.  The PRP is drawn out of the sealed tube using a process that does not allow for contamination of the PRP.  All PRP is used immediately and is never left sitting around.

Anything else to share with patients who are apprehensive about getting this treatment following this update?  

Always disclose all medical conditions to your provider before having a treatment with PRP, only use a licensed provider who is experienced in PRP treatments, and ask if the facility uses blood collection tubes that are made specifically for PRP.

Karen Medeiros, RN

Karen is a Registered Nurse and licensed laser technician. She is passionate about helping patients achieve their aesthetic goals. From preventative Botox to Morpheus8 microneedling for aging skin, she’s excited to be a partner with you on your aesthetic journey.

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