Does Viviscal Actually Work? We Asked Dermatologists

woman touching her hair

Stocksy / Design by Dion Mills

Hair is our crowning glory. Whichever way we style it, whether it's intricate braids, beach waves, or a messy topknot, hair is one of our defining features. That's why seeing a little too much hair in a brush after brushing our hair is frustrating, especially because of all the work we put into maintaining our hair's health with masks and leave-in conditioners.

Could a pill be a solution to this problem? Celebrities like Karlie Kloss and Hailey Bieber have turned to Viviscal, a vitamin that also has a hair care line that includes hair thickening products like shampoo, conditioner, elixir, and hair filler fibers. Since it's been on the market, Viviscal has been recommended by doctors and salon experts for clients who are experiencing significant hair shedding. Keep reading to get insight from experts about Viviscal.

Meet the Expert

  • Michele S. Green, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist who practices a variety of cosmetic dermatology treatments in New York City.
  • Shari Sperling, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in medical, cosmetic, laser, and surgical dermatology for adults and children in New Jersey.

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, Michele S. Green, MD, tells her patients that they can go without them if they have a cleansing regimen they already love.

Aside from celebrity promotion and glowing customer reviews, Viviscal says its products have performed well in several clinical trials. In one such trial, 75.3 percent of participating patients experienced a “significant decrease in hair loss,” according to the brand.

The Science

"Viviscal works with amino acid-rich protein that treats hair loss and accelerates hair growth. Taking these is like giving your scalp 'food' so that it grows new, healthy hair," says Shari Sperling, MD. 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.

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

  • Shark Cartilage & Mollusk Powder: These marine-based protein sources are also rich in fatty acids that may 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: vitamin that might help 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: Rich in antioxidants and helps the body absorb iron into the blood while also boosting collagen production.
  • Zinc: Balances hormone levels and minimizes dandruff on the scalp, so hair may have a clear path for growth. Adequate amounts of zinc in the body may also prevent protein deterioration.

Is it Effective?

Although Viviscal can reduce hair loss, it is not a magical pill that can make hair grow to Rapunzel lengths overnight. However, Green notes it is effective and most people see an increase in hair lengths while taking Viviscal.

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.

How to Use Viviscal

Sperling says you should take Viviscal twice daily, once in the morning and once at night with food and water. Green recommends patients use Viviscal consistently for at least six months, which means committing to three packages since Viviscal recommends taking one tablet twice a day.

When You'll See Results

beautiful hair portrait
CoffeeAndMilk / Getty Images

“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 between two to four months of use.” It is important to remain consistent with taking Viviscal in order to get these results.

Using Viviscal With Other Hair Supplements

According to Green, Viviscal can be used with other hair supplements. "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,” says Green. 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.

Potential Side Effects

Sperling says that potential side effects are nausea and skeletal stiffness. If you experience either of these side effects you should contact a doctor immediately.

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. You should also not take Viviscal if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, according to the brand.

Those who are sensitive or allergic to dairy, eggs, nuts, wheat, 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 may be irritating to anyone with celiac disease.

The Takeaway

Viviscal may be an excellent choice to add to your hair care regime if you are looking for help with hair growth. “Take Viviscal as long as you feel that you need it,” says Green, as it is a product line that requires continuous use for visible results.

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

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Viviscal. Clinical studies.

  2. Kang JI, Yoon HS, Kim SM, et al. Mackerel-derived fermented fish oil promotes hair growth by anagen-stimulating pathwaysInt J Mol Sci. 2018;19(9):2770. doi:10.3390/ijms19092770

  3. Goluch-Koniuszy ZS. Nutrition of women with hair loss problem during the period of menopausePrz Menopauzalny. 2016;15(1):56-61. doi:10.5114/pm.2016.58776

  4. Ranganathan S, Mukhopadhyay T. Dandruff: the most commercially exploited skin diseaseIndian J Dermatol. 2010;55(2):130-134. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.62734

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