Vampire Facial
photo: Getty Images

Outrageous beauty crazes are nothing new. However, it's not very often that the treatments cause life-threatening conditions such as HIV. But now a once-operating New Mexico spa is under fire again after two patients who received the popular vampire facial at their location were diagnosed with HIV. 

The reports are instilling fear in hundreds of other clients who visited the spa last year, and health officials are yet again calling for people to go get tested. The outbreak is making people wonder if the bloody facial is even worth it. You be the judge. 

The vampire facial is one of the most popular skin crazes of today.

Vampire Facial
photo: Getty Images

Its rising popularity and seemingly flawless results have made it one of the most sought-after skin treatments today. Those that get the treatment reveal skin that is visibly tighter, smoother, and all-around more radiant after just one treatment. The facial itself averages at about $1,500, making it one of the more expensive skin treatments on the market.

A slew of celebs indulge in the treatment, even Kim Kardashian.

There's no denying that Kardashian played a huge part in the vampire facial craze. She posted about the experience on her Instagram, chronicling getting the treatment alongside sister Kourtney. She left millions wondering what exactly the vampire facial is, and many rushing to their local spa to try it for themselves. 

So what is it exactly?

Vampire Facial
photo: Getty Images

To keep it short and simple, it's basically the process of taking blood from the patient, processing it in a machine to remove the plasma (the substance that contains all the good stuff like platelets and other growth factors), then reinjecting it into the face. Known for its plumping properties, the treatment has also been used on women's breasts.

And while it's proven to be pretty safe thus far, with anything blood-related, there's risk.

Vampire Facial
photo: Getty Images

The biggest risk, of course, comes from the needles. And though the procedure itself calls for sterile equipment, it is not required to be performed in a medical practice. With that comes the risk of unhealthy and improper medical practices resulting in the cross-contamination of blood from multiple subjects. 

Just ask this New Mexico spa. 

VIP Spa New Mexico
photo: KQRE

In 2018, health officials urged those who visited VIP Spa in Albuquerque to get tested for a variety of viruses after an inspection determined that the spa had been frequently misusing needles and equipment. 

"We undertook the inspection because a client of the VIP Spa developed an infection that may have resulted from a procedure performed at the spa," Dr. Michael Landen, DOH State Epidemiologist, told New Mexico news station KRQE last year. The spa closed its doors in September.

Now two patients have been diagnosed with HIV.

Vampire Facial
photo: Getty Images

HIV infections were detected in two clients of VIP Spa who received the treatment between March and September of last year, once again causing health officials to urge those who visited the spa during that time to go get tested — and bringing fear to many across the nation.

But it's not just HIV that people are at risk of getting from this treatment.

Blood Dripping
photo: Getty Images

People are also being told to get tested for Hepatitis A and C, which may have also been transferred during vampire facials at that particular spa. 

How can one prevent getting infected when seeking a vampire facial?

Vampire Facial Kim Kardashian
photo: Getty Images

Visiting a reputable MedSpa is the first step in preventing the spread of viruses. Additionally, ensuring that the aesthetician is using fresh, disposable needles is imperative. Or you can skip out on the experience all together and get a run-of-the mill facial from a trusted dermatologist or esthetician.

There are some more minimally invasive alternatives. 

Like Dr. Barbara Sturm's Blood Cream, which costs $1,400 and lasts even longer than the facial. Though plasma is still required, there's no downtime, and pain is kept to a minimum. The price may still be steep, but hey, your chances of infection decrease tremendously.