We tried the Morpheus8 skin tightening treatment to see if lived up to the hype

morpheus8 before and after
Morpheus8: Our honest experience and reviewHearst Owned

Non-invasive beauty treatments are having a major moment right now, but there's no procedure that's gotten more recent buzz than Morpheus8, the radiofrequency microneedling treatment that leaves your skin tighter and firmer. Not only are beauty editors in love with it, but celebs are too: Kim K tested it out on Instagram, and then Lindsay Lohan herself told Cosmo that she's also obsessed with the treatment.

So naturally, being the curious beauty editors we are, we decided to give it a try. Stateside our deputy beauty director Lauren Balsamo booked a Morpheus8 appointment with board-certified dermatologist Michelle Henry, MD, to see what all the hype is about. While here at Cosmo UK, beauty writer Elena Chabo booked in with Premier Laser Clinic in London. Ahead, you'll find our honest reviews of Morpheus8—plus everything you need to know about the treatment if you decide to try it for yourself.

What is Morpheus8?

Morpheus8 is a radiofrequency (RF) microneedling device, meaning it combines the properties and benefits of both radiofrequency technology and microneedling procedures, says Dr. Henry. During a Morpheus8 treatment, ultra-thin needles that emit radiofrequency energy are stamped into your skin to create a controlled injury, which, in turn, prompts collagen and elastin production—the two key proteins responsible for skin firmness, tightness, and smoothness.

Many other professional devices work the same way (like Potenza, Vivace, and EndyMed), but Morpheus8 is a bit different in that it (1) penetrates the skin deeper than most others, and (2) has a unique "burst" mode that allows it to treat multiple skin layers at once for a more robust collagen stimulation, says Dr. Henry. Translation: It's one of the most powerful RF microneedling treatments on the market, and most dermatologists we've spoken with say it yields some of the most impressive results.

What are the benefits of Morpheus8?

Morpheus8 has a ton of benefits for skin on both the face and neck and body—and it's all thanks to its ability to trigger your collagen and elastin production. Some of the biggest benefits patients experience after a Morpheus8 treatment include:

  • Smoother skin texture with smaller-looking pores

  • A reduction in acne scars and marks

  • Less noticeable fines lines and wrinkles

  • A more "snatched" jawline and more sculpted cheekbones

  • Skin that looks firmer, tighter, and lifted

Lauren Says: "For me, the biggest benefit of Morpheus8 was an overall plumpness to my skin and fewer fine lines. I haven't had Botox in over six months and even though the dose has totally worn off, my forehead and eye area still look and feel smooth, which I attribute to my Morpheus8 treatment. And because Dr. Henry told me Morpheus8 can also be used to delay signs of ageing, I'm hoping the treatment will prevent any wrinkles and skin sagging in the future too."

morpheus8 before and after
Lauren’s before and after.Hearst Owned

Elena Says: "I was hoping for a reduction in my acne scarring, as well as a tightening in my lower face to give me a slimmer look. While I can't say a huge impact was made on my scarring with the one session I had (2-3 are recommended), my pores are smaller and my skin is more radiant. Most excitingly... my face and jawline look more chiselled and someone complimented my 'contour' when I wasn't wearing any the other day. A win. It's not drastic but I can see it, and I think with more sessions it could be seriously impressive."

morpheus8 before and after photos one session
Elena before one session of Morpheus8 and 8 weeks after. "My ’before’s aren’t the best representation as I wasn’t well, but the difference is still impressive." Hearst Owned

How long do Morpheus8 results last?

Although the effects of Morpheus8 are not permanent, the results of a treatment typically last one year, says Dr. Henry, adding that "everyone’s capacity to simulate collagen is different and one’s lifestyle choices will affect the ultimate duration."

It's also worth noting that the results aren't instant (collagen doesn't grow overnight). "My skin had a nice glow right after the treatment, but I didn't notice any smoothing or tightening effects until about a month later," says Lauren. So if you're trying Morpheus8 to improve your skin before a big event, we would recommend scheduling your appointment about six weeks in advance.

How long is a Morpheus8 session?

Our Morpheus8 experiences took about 90 minutes, having had a consultation a few weeks before. After filling in your forms you sit with numbing cream on your face for 45 minutes (so have a podcast loaded up), and then the treatment itself takes around 20-30 minutes depending on what areas you're having treated (half face, full face, face and neck etc).

morhpeus8 treatment review
The glamorous numbing process.Hearst Owned

Once totally numbed, the face is wiped clean and the device is passed over the entire face (or chosen areas) two times using a quick stamping motion. More passes can be done over areas you really want to target and tighten, which can be discussed prior and during.

How do you heal from Morpheus8?

Despite being such a powerful treatment, the downtime after Morpheus8 treatment is relatively minimal. "On day one, my skin was very red and tender for an hour post-treatment, and then faded to a pink colour," says Lauren; "On days two through four my skin was still pink and dry in some spots and I had a few pin-point bleeding marks, but nothing my tinted sunscreen couldn't camouflage. By day five, my skin was completely back to normal. If you're concerned about the downtime, I would book your treatment for Friday after work and then lay low over the weekend."

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Elena immediately after Morpheus8 treatment, though most of this redness went down in couple of hours.Hearst Owned

In terms of what you can and can't do after a Morpheus8 treatment, Dr. Henry says no makeup for at least 24 hours and no aggressive skincare or anything with actives (that means you'll need to pause on your retinol, AHAs/BHAs, or vitamin C). "While the skin is most vulnerable the first 24 hours following the procedure, I recommend using mild cleansers and hydrators and avoiding direct sun exposure for a full week post-treatment," says Dr. Henry.

What do you have to do to prepare for Morpheus8?

"As I have a deeper skin tone PLC advised at my consultation to start using a pigment control cream ideally six weeks before treatment, as skin types 4 to 6 are more at risk of inflammatory hyperpigmentation as a potential side effect," says Elena. "I was also told to avoid tanning, sunbathing and self-tan for a month prior, to take a break from actives like retinol in my skincare, and to cut out painkillers, caffeine and alcohol in the days before."

Different providers' prep may vary slightly, but it's important to discuss at your consultation and read any written advice thoroughly so that you can be ready for your treatment with the lowest risk of complications or side effects.

What are the cons of Morpheus8?

Like all non-invasive cosmetic treatments, Morpheus8 isn't without its downsides. The biggest two, according to providers and patients, are the price and pain.

  • Price: We won't sugarcoat it: Morpheus8 is expensive. The price varies with location and provider and has come down a lot since the tech was brand new, but in general, you can expect to spend a minimum of £350 to treat your face and neck, and more if you're treating larger areas on the body. Depending on the results you're trying to achieve, your doctor may recommend multiple treatments spaced four to six weeks apart.

  • Pain: Morpheus8 isn't the most comfortable treatment, particularly if you opt for extra passes in certain areas, but with the right prep, it's manageable. "I was really gritting my teeth toward the end, but the thought of the results outweighed the pain," says Elena; "I said 'yes please' to every extra pass of the device she offered." Just make sure your provider is using a powerful topical numbing cream to reduce the pain. Some of these will work more if left on longer, so if you have a low pain threshold you can enquire as to whether leaving this particular cream on longer is safe, and if it will improve comfort.

Is Morpheus8 worth it?

Lauren's verdict: "If you're looking to reverse signs of aging and give your skin a more lifted and refreshed appearance, Morpheus8 is absolutely worth it. It's safe for nearly all skin tones and skin types and is an excellent alternative to fillers and Botox for the needle-averse.

"IMO, the results from Morpheus8 are way more natural-looking than what you'd get from injectables. Plus, most patients only need one treatment to see a visible improvement in their skin, and when coupled with good at-home skincare, those improvements will last for a full year—maybe even longer. Just be sure to book your treatment with a reputable provider to ensure a safe and successful treatment."

Elena's verdict: "'Worth it' is so money dependent. For me personally and my budget, I'm not sure. My skin is only just starting to show signs of ageing, and there are no guaranteed results. But as a beauty journalist, I know how much money people spend on other treatments and tweakments... and so in that context, I would say yes. It's so far ahead of other similar treatments and gives a real refresh to the skin. I could see a slimming of my face and more definition in one treatment, and I'd love to see how it looked with more. If I had more disposable income, this would likely be the treatment I would invest in."

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