Does Viviscal Actually Work? We Asked a Dermatologist

hair growth


Hair can be seen as a defining trait for many women and men, and losing it when you don’t intend to can be a frustrating and disappointing experience. This is especially true if you've worked hard to maintain its health. That's why Viviscal Professional created its line of hair thickening products, which includes a shampoo, conditioner, elixir, 60-tablet vitamin packets and hair filler fibers. The company created its signature growth-boosting formula in the 1980s after a “Scandinavian professor studying the Inuits discovered that their great hair and skin was the result of their fish- and protein-rich diet,” according to the brand’s website.

Since its creation, Viviscal has been recommended by doctors and salon experts for clients who are experiencing significant hair shedding. New York City-based dermatologist, Dr. Michele Green, who also specializes in treating hair loss, recommends Viviscal to her patients regularly. We asked Green for a breakdown of what makes Viviscal so effective to get an idea of whether it is a viable hair loss remedy for all cases.

Meet the Expert

Michele S. Green, MD is a board-certified dermatologist practicing on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She graduated from Yale University with an MD from Mount Sinai Medical School in NYC. Dr. Green specializes in issues ranging from premature skin aging to hyperpigmentation, rosacea, acne, hair loss, and skin cancer.

What Is Viviscal?

Viviscal is designed to be a two-part hair care system that promotes hair growth inside and out with its Extra Strength dietary supplements, Gorgeous Growth Densifying Elixir, Densifying Shampoo and Densifying Conditioner, and Conceal & Densify Volumizing Fibers. These topical products are composed of hair thickening botanicals and proteins and are meant to be used in conjunction with the Viviscal supplements—however, Green tells her patients that they can go without them if they have a cleansing regimen they already love.

Celebrities like Karlie Kloss and Hailey Bieber have spoken out about their affinity for Viviscal’s supplements. Aside from celebrity promotion and glowing customer reviews, Viviscal says its products have performed well in seven clinical trials. In one such trial, 75.3 percent of participating patients experienced a “significant decrease in hair loss.”

How Does it Work?

According to Green, the star ingredient that makes Viviscal supplements so successful is its trademarked AminoMar marine complex, which is a blend of sustainably sourced shark cartilage and mollusk powder, fish oil, and silica. It also has a number of hair-boosting vitamins and minerals in it such as biotin, niacin, and zinc.

  • Shark Cartilage & Mollusk Powder: These marine-based protein sources are also rich in fatty acids that are said help in the reduction of hair loss.
  • Fish Oil: Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil nourishes a parched scalp and delivers nutrients to hair follicles, which in turn helps to minimize hair thinning.
  • Silica: Balances calcium and magnesium levels for hair loss that is caused by over-fluctuating hormones.
  • Biotin: Is a proven vitamin that helps maintain the appearance of healthy hair by promoting growth and thickening.
  • Niacin: A vitamin that transforms carbohydrates into energy, maintains the structure of blood cells and improves blood circulation, all of which encourage blood flow to the scalp and its hair follicles.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin rich in antioxidants and helps the body absorb iron into the blood while also boosting collagen production for strengthened hair.
  • Zinc: Balances hormone levels and minimizes dandruff on the scalp so hair can have a clear path for growth. It's also believed that adequate amounts of zinc in the body prevents protein deterioration.

There are a number of other ingredients in Viviscal supplements, however, the above are some of the strongest key players that help bring hair back to life.

How Effective is Viviscal Really?

Although Viviscal has been shown to reduce hair loss, it is not a magical pill that can make hair grow to Rapunzel lengths overnight.

“Since hair grows at approximately a quarter- to a half-inch per month, it will take some patience to see results,” Green explains. “Most people see a difference within the two to four months of use.” For best results, she recommends patients use Viviscal consistently for at least six months, which means committing to three packages since Viviscal recommends taking one tablet for morning and night.

When it comes to competing supplements on the market, Green notes that there hasn’t been a definitive comparative study that puts one brand over another. “Some patients see success with Viviscal while others see success with other vitamins on the market—it’s all up to preference,” she says.

Side Effects

Viviscal is generally safe, but like any other ingestible, you should be wary of any ingredients that will be hazardous to your health. Individuals with fish or shellfish allergies should certainly stay away from Viviscal supplements and opt for one of its non-marine topical products instead.

Those who are sensitive or allergic to dairy, eggs, nuts, wheat and/or gluten should also be careful since Viviscal cannot confirm whether there is cross-contamination at its manufacturing facilities. Additionally, the Viviscal Extra Strength version does contain millet seed, which can be irritating to anyone with celiac disease.

Finally, Green recommends breastfeeding and pregnant women avoid Viviscal until they are done weening or have given birth.

How to Ensure Good Results

“Take Viviscal as long as you feel that you need it,” Green says simply. It is a product line that requires continuous use for visible results.

For those who already have a full head of hair, Green laughs, “They can take whatever vitamin they want.” There have been no studies thus far that shows Viviscal helping people with thick hair achieve additional thickening or growth.

Green adds that Viviscal will not work on people with scarring alopecia.

Can Viviscal Be Used With Other Hair Treatments?

“Absolutely," says Green. "It can be used in conjunction with platelet-rich plasma treatments, laser therapy, and hair transplants. You can usually see enhanced results when you use more than one hair restoration method.” Just make sure to consult a board-certified dermatologist, physician or licensed trichologist before administering Viviscal if you have had one of these treatments done.

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