Morpheus8 Review: Breaking Down Kim Kardashian's Go-To Skin-Tightening Treatment

Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan have raved over Morpheus8, a collagen-producing treatment. So we volunteered as tribute to give a very honest review.

By Alyssa Morin Jan 29, 2024 2:00 PMTags
Watch: Kim Kardashian Details "Painful" Stomach-Tightening Procedure

Sometimes, beauty really is pain.

And nothing quite encapsulates the age-old phrase like Morpheus8, a trendy new treatment that pairs microneedling with radiofrequency to stimulate collagen production and tighten the skin.

Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan have sang its praises in recent years, with The Kardashians star calling it a total "game-changer" in her beauty routine.

But here's the catch: Before you can get its skin-tightening effect, you must experience some suffering—both during and after the treatment.

How do I know? I tried it out for myself.

I not only wanted to understand the hype surrounding the procedure, but I was charmed by the promises of a radiant complexion. So, I booked an appointment with aesthetic plastic surgeon Dr. Neil Vranis at none other than Ghavami Plastic Surgery in Beverly Hills—the same clinic the Kardashians have gotten several of their treatments done, including Morpheus8.

Keep reading to see my honest review of the treatment, plus, a breakdown of everything you should know before deciding to face the procedure for yourself.

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What is Morpheus8?

Morpheus8 combines microneedling with radiofrequency to create "extra skin-tightening," Dr. Vranis explained, "because there's heat delivered to the skin and in different layers of the skin, it gets converted by the body to stimulate and trigger collagen production."

The device features a plate of 12 or 24 needles that punctures the skin on the surface and inside of it depending on the depth of the needle. "You can tweak how deep the needles go," the plastic surgeon noted. "For the face, it goes from 1 mm to 4 mm. On the body, because you have a different tip and handpiece for Morpheus8, that can go up to 7 mm."

Courtesy of Alyssa Morin

What to expect during the Morpheus8 treatment?

I'm going to be honest with you, Morpheus8 isn't a relaxing, spa-like experience. The only part of the treatment that is mildly calming is when the numbing cream is applied. As I waited 45 minutes for it to kick in, I unwinded by reading a book.

Then, I was ushered into another room where laughing gas was placed next to the examination table as an extra measurement—which, yes, I asked for about five minutes into the treatment because the pain was unbearable.

Because despite having the numbing cream, I could feel the needles piercing through my skin, almost as if it were a heated staple gun with an electrical current. After about 15 minutes, which felt more like an eternity, the treatment was over.

Tiny specks of blood oozed out of my pores, and the rest of my face looked as red as a tomato. For the rest of the week, I had swollen cheeks and scabbed needlepoint wounds that resembled track marks.

Courtesy of Alyssa Morin

What is the recovery like for Morpheus8?

Unlike getting Botox or other facial treatments, Morpheus8 requires a lot of downtime. I actually stayed in bed for the rest day after I got the treatment because I was in so much pain. In fact, I highly recommend getting the treatment done during a holiday weekend or taking a day or two off from work.

Plus, there are several important post-care guidelines to follow. "Certain things to avoid," Dr. Vranis told me, "Smoking and sunlight—it's the absolute worst thing. Avoid picking at your skin." Easy, got it, done.

Additionally, he suggested using a healing serum, especially one packed with hyaluronic acid, to treat the skin.

At first, I applied RescueMD's DNA Repair Complex and then when I had a check-in with Dr. Vranis two weeks later, he recommended I switch to Aquaphor's Healing Ointment. I also washed my face with The Outset's Gentle Micellar Cleanser to keep my skin clean and infection-free.

By week three, Courteney Winter—a medical esthetician at Ghavami Plastic Surgery—suggested I switch to Alastin Skincare's Regenerating Skin Nectar Serum to heal my skin. 

On top of using a variety of skincare products, I also did three sessions of yellow light therapy to reduce the redness and fade the track marks on my skin.

Overall, I've been on a journey to repair my face since I've had prolonged effects. Although "track marks on day two and day three are normal," according to Dr. Vranis, mine haven't entirely disappeared and it's been four weeks since I got Morpheus8. 

"Most people, 80 to 85 percent of patients, will go looking back to normal and have a tightening feeling by the one-week mark," he said. "They'll start to see the skin-surfacing texture look better and usually they're thrilled."

But despite having redness and faint track marks on my lower cheeks and chin area, there have been some positives: I've noticed a slight tightness around the apples of my cheeks. Plus, they also look fuller and more plump.

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How many sessions do you need for Morpheus8?

"Usually with Morpheus, [we] recommend a series of three treatments," Dr. Vranis said. "And that first one, if people do have prolonged recovery, then you know going into treatments two and three to dial it back for these people."

The cost of these sessions vary due to several factors such as the clinic you book the appointment with, the area(s) you'd like to get treated and if you're offered a package deal versus paying per session. However, the average price for each session can range from $750 to $4,000.

What are the potential benefits of Morpheus8?

"Two of the biggest reasons patients request Morpheus8 is for tightening and skin texture," Dr. Vranis noted, adding, it also "shrinks pores, makes [skin] smoother, and it increases collagen."

But patience is a virtue when it comes to Morpheus8 because it takes about three months for the body to trigger and build new collagen, according to the plastic surgeon.

Morpheus8 can also melt fat, creating a more refined and sculpted look. However, it's best suited for people with certain skin concerns, like sagging, and also recommended in specific areas of the face and body.

"When people say, 'I want a little bit of tightening and I wouldn't mind if underneath my chin some of the fat goes away,'" the doctor explained, "You can use it to your advantage and melt fat in those areas."

Courtesy of Alyssa Morin

What are the potential downsides of Morpheus 8?

Unfortunately, I'm part of the small percentage that didn't get the silky-smooth results right away.

"One scenario, which is an adverse reaction with sensitive skin that we've experienced with you, is that you see prolongation of these needling marks," Dr. Vranis said. "For some people, it lasts four to six weeks. Maybe 10 percent of patients have that."

In fact, this outcome is usually more common on the body than on the face. "The reason is that the face has so much vascularity and it has so much blood flow going into it," he continued, "and so the body's ability to repair the face is significantly better, faster, stronger than anywhere else."

Another potential risk to keep in mind is burning the skin. "Because you are injecting a lot of energy," Dr. Vranis shared, "if you turn the dial up all the way, you can create serious first, second and third-degree burns."

He noted it's especially important to be careful when treating patients with deeper skin tones because they are "more sensitive to thermal energy."

Courtesy of Alyssa Morin

What are the takeaways?

Personally, I can't imagine going through that again. 

Despite finally getting tight skin and some fullness in my face after about a month, the pain during and after the treatment was too intense for me. Plus, I noticed a significant difference in my self-esteem throughout the healing process. After all, seeing red track marks imprinted on my face didn't exactly give me a confidence boost.

However, I understand that my experience isn't considered the norm.

The biggest takeaway I'd give to anyone considering Morpheus8 is to ask yourself if the treatment can help your skin concerns. 

When I reflect on the issues I wanted to manage, I don't think they warranted getting Morpheus8—which is probably why my skin also reacted to it. I was lucky that the clinic I went to worked with me throughout the recovery process to heal my skin.

Figuring out what you want to improve will not only help you determine if Morpheus8 is the best option for you, but your practitioner can be a more useful guide on your skincare journey.