Valerie Bertinelli Just Got Real About Her Latest Skincare Treatment

Actress and Food Network personality Valerie Bertinelli has turned to vampire facials to refresh and rejuvenate her skin. She recently had her second such facial done and reported via her Instagram story (reposted by iSkin Med Spa) that the effects are somewhat stronger than the first go-round. "It's a little redder than last time. It feels like a really really bad sunburn," the star said, per People.

The vampire facial isn't as ominous as the name sounds, although there are still some stakes to consider. Bertinelli had her procedure done at iSkin Med Spa, which reports that benefits include reduced wrinkles and fine lines, greater collagen production, improved tone and texture, and better moisture retention. In general, the company says, a client can expect skin that is both tighter and firmer. Bertinelli herself noted in the Instagram story that it's no walk in the park. "Does your face hurt, cause it's killing me," she said, adding, "Ohhh vanity." Struck by her candor, a commenter wrote, "Im impressed that as a star, you haven't allowed the glamour get to you. You are real and that's what I like about you."

What happens during a vampire facial?

During a vampire facial, microneedling (using needles about 0.5 to 2.5 millimeters in size) is done to cause mild injury to the skin, explains Columbia Skin Clinic. "Rest assured, the needles feel like tiny pinpricks and only go skin-deep," the site says. By injuring the skin, however mildly, the skin is inspired to try to heal itself. It partly accomplishes this by making collagen and elastin. After the micro-needling is done, the practitioner applies "platelet-rich plasma" (taken from the patient's blood) directly to the skin. This helps the skin to heal more quickly.

As Valerie Bertinelli's case illustrates, vampire facials don't always feel good. The American Academy of Dermatology Association notes that the procedure may cause pain and other unwanted effects that persist for a few days. Due to the nature of the facial, experts caution people to avoid bargain basement-type practitioners. Instead, they should only opt for a licensed practitioner who operates in a sterile environment. 

"Any treatments that break the skin bring with them the chance of infection and you need to be more vigilant," cosmetic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon told People. He's not being overly dramatic, either. In 2018, two people may have contracted HIV while getting vampire facials at a New Mexico spa that wasn't certified to perform them, per the BBC. It's best to be like Bertinelli and choose a highly regarded facility in hopes of avoiding such severe risks.