With over 40 million Instagram posts shared per day, you'd be surprised by how much we can remember. Without even opening our app, we can recall that five months ago, Selena Gomez revealed to the world she had undergone a kidney transplant. One year ago, Beyoncé posed like the holy figure that she is for the announcement that she was pregnant with twins. And five years ago, Kim Kardashian West took a selfie while covered in her own blood. But as they say, Instagram can be deceiving, and it wasn't until yesterday that we found out how Kardashian West really feels about that gory treatment.
On March 10, 2013, the star put the "vampire facial" on the map, when, while filming Kim & Kourtney Take Miami, she decided to visit the Miami Institute to see Dr. Julio Gallo with best friend and "Foodgōd" Jonathan Cheban in tow. At the time, the now-popular facial was totally under-the-radar, and many wondered whether Kim was just doing it for the shock factor. Why? The vampire facial, also known as the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) facial, includes drawing blood from your arm, separating the platelets, and then injecting them into your skin via micro-needling. The end goal is, hopefully, tighter, lifted, glowing skin.
Now, years after her selfie went viral, skyrocketing the treatment to mainstream popularity, Kim revealed she regrets ever doing it. In fact, she refers to it in a recent blog post as "the one treatment that [she'll] never do again."
"Before I got the procedure, I just found out that I was pregnant, so I couldn't use numbing cream or a pain killer and both are suggested," Kim wrote. "It was really rough and painful for me. I couldn't tell anyone about the pregnancy, either, but I pulled Jonathan aside and told him. My show was also filming the treatment, so I felt I couldn't chicken out. It was honestly the most painful thing ever!"
But remember, your pain threshold isn't necessarily the same as Kardashian West's, and physical reactions are the most subjective part about any beauty treatment. (One former R29 editor who tried the vampire facial in 2016 reported that it took 48 hours to recover.) Bottom line: Facials, especially this one, aren't a one-size-fits-all kind of deal.
"The facial is definitely painful," dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, confirms to Refinery29. He adds that the industry is lacking the evidence to back up that the pain is worth the gain. "What we need is more data and more studies to definitively prove that the vampire facial is truly worth the discomfort you experience from it and the price tag."
The morale of the story is this: Before you book any treatment — especially one that draws blood — do thorough research and set up consultations to make sure it's right for you. Then make damn sure you can take advantage of the numbing cream.