Society has a lot to answer for in terms of promoting unrealistic beauty standards. 

Popular culture and beauty trends see a lot of us eager for our faces to look younger and our bodies to look trimmer and more toned - quick to jump on the latest miracle cure.

And while I think there are some great treatments out there (and safe may I add), the problem with trends is that often many people don’t do enough research on the treatments offered or ensure that the professionals offering the treatment adhere to the proper health standards.

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Just recently a spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico has come under fire for putting people at risk for infection that includes but isn’t limited to HIV. 

According to The Cut, The New Mexico Department of Health has advised people who’ve attended the VIP spa, particularly those who’ve had a vampire facial, to get free screenings for HIV, and Hepatitis B and C after it emerged that a customer developed an infection.    

The Department of Health conducted an inspection which determined that the spa was practicing in a manner that put customers at risk. The spa has subsequently closed down.

Vampire facials are nothing new – in fact, Kim Kardashian was one of the very first people to try and share the treatment. But over the years there’s been a lot of debate around it – some swear by it, while others are sceptical about whether it actually produces rejuvenating results.

The treatment, as you can guess, involves using your own blood. Blood is withdrawn, and plasma is extracted from it. The plasma is said to contain rich nutrients needed to rejuvenate the skin, CNN reports. 

It’s not a pretty procedure, and experts advise that if you do opt for this, to make sure that you actually see the beauticians opening new syringes and that conditions in the facilities are spotless.

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Of course, vampire facials aren't the only treatments that are controversial.

The following cosmetic procedures and treatments aren’t without their concerns and dangers: 

Brazilian butt lifts

This controversial procedure has reportedly resulted in deaths. For many who desire a bum that’s bigger and firmer, the surgery for this involves taking fat from another part of your body (usually the stomach, BBC reports) and injecting it into your buttocks.

This surgery allegedly has the highest death rate because injecting fat into the veins of your buttocks can affect the heart and brain, resulting in severe illness or death.

Sometimes people don't use qualified practitioner while others have serious reactions to the implants.

Vitamin IV drip treatments

A fad that’s been doing the rounds, particularly amongst celebrities, Vitamin IV drips have become quite popular, although many debate whether they’re necessary.

Earlier this year, Kendall Jenner was reportedly hospitalised because of complications with the drip (which is essentially a cocktail of vitamins that is injected straight into your bloodstream that's supposed to boost your immune system, make a good hangover cure or help with energy levels to mention but a few).

Our editor, Zanele actually tried out this treatment and while it certainly worked for her – and for many others – it doesn’t come without it’s complications. It’s recommended that you consult with a doctor – or go to an IV bar that has medical professionals on hand to guide you.

But do be careful, if you have a chequered medical history particularly a heart condition or take medication, you could react negatively to the cocktail. 

Skin bleaching

A treatment that’s rooted in colonisation and society’s obsession with fair skin, skin bleaching is one of the most psychologically and physically harmful treatments available. And unfortunately here in Africa there is still a huge market for it – it doesn’t help that some celebrities have endorsed this.

Besides the fact that this issue speaks to us about the rampant colourism that continues to prevail all over, it’s also harmful in that many of the skin bleaching products available have been known to result in the thinning of the skin, which makes you more vulnerable to skin cancer, The Guardian reports. 

Some of the products are often also unregulated, which makes the chances that they contain toxic ingredients that much greater.

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