Tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., I have an appointment with my dermatologist for steroid shots to my scalp. This is my third consecutive month of receiving these shots, which should last for a period of eight months or so. They’re not fun. In fact, I’m sorry Dr. Tomeo, they suck, (but you knew that from my reaction, didn’t you?) Several times, Dr. Tomeo will insert a needle, which besides a steroid also contains a numbing solution, into the quarter-sized bald spot that my hair stylist found the last time I had my hair colored.

Alopecia Areata
Here I am, fresh from the hair salon where my stylist found this lovely bald spot. Its not the end of the world but it sucks, sucks, sucks.

Why do I get these bald spots? I have alopecia areata (AA), an autoimmune disorder that causes my body to destroy the hair follicles on my head (and sometimes on my body) from which hair grows. This is the fourth spot I’ve gotten and, wouldn’t you know it, my daughter is getting married in a few weeks. But I’ve been rather lucky, I guess you could say. The bald spots I’ve gotten have been, thus far, easily hidden by the rest of my hair. Of course, this is not the case when the wind blows or when I’m performing an activity that requires movement like walking, or, yeah, dancing. My hair stylist will figure out a way to keep me confident that the spot won’t show while I’m kicking up my heels at my daughter’s wedding but, you know what? It sucks. It sucks. It sucks. It sucks. Of course, it could be worse. I’m not sick. I just have bald spots. It’s not a life-threatening thing. But it sucks and I’d do anything, well, practically anything to grow hair and prevent the AA from causing me to lose it again. And, oh yeah, if that’s not bad enough, my hair has thinned considerably over time.


I had heard about Viviscal from a friend whose friend’s daughter used it and swore it made her thinning hair thicker. So, while my hair used to be thick and glorious and shiny and a topic of conversation (seriously), it’s now not and has lost much of its luster.  I asked a doctor about Viviscal. She was doubtful about its effects on hair growth so I passed. But, last month, when I visited my dermatologist, Dr, Michael A. Tomeo, with whom I’d collaborated on several posts for, including one on hair loss, for the aforementioned shots, I asked him. Turns out he had recently attended a dermatological conference where at least one expert spoke of the benefits of Viviscal on her patients. He suggested I try it. What did I have to lose?

When I got home that morning I checked my email and, I swear it’s a sign, saw one from the representatives for Viviscal, offering me a month’s free sample of the product. I dashed off an email to her saying “yes, please send it right away” and received my Viviscal about a week later. I began taking it immediately – twice a day, as called for in the directions.

What is Viviscal?

Viviscal is a marine-derived product (it’s made from shark cartilage and the company that makes it assures that it’s produced from non-endangered and sustainable species of sharks and is a byproduct of the fishing industry. In other words, no sharks are fished for cartilage to make the product.) It also contains mollusk powder (not sure if those with shellfish allergies would be best served by this product, but check with your own doctor if you want to try it), biotin, niacin, iron, zinc and horsetail and millet seed extracts. The supplements are drug-free and their ability to promote hair growth are supported by seven clinical trials and 20 years of research, according to the company’s website.

How Does It Work? 

Viviscal nourishes hair from within, creating the “ideal environment for healthy hair growth,” says Viviscal’s website which states that stress, poor nutrition, heredity, the environment and other factors can lead to breakage and hair loss. The nutrients in Viviscal supposedly nourish hair follicles, strengthen hair and promote growth.

I wrote “supposedly.” That’s because I’m in my third week of taking Viviscal and have yet to see an improvement in my hair. But Rome wasn’t built in a day and a head of thicker hair won’t be created in three weeks. These things take time. I’m impatient. I know that my complimentary monthly supply won’t last long enough for me to see a difference and I am prepared to go the distance with this product. I’m giving it a fair trial of six months and putting my impatience aside for that period of time. I don’t expect Viviscal to prevent the AA. I don’t think anything can. But I do expect it to give me thicker hair. My hair stylist, who I adore and vice versa, will tell me the truth. She always does. She’s the one who found the damn spots in the first place and she always tells me the state of my hair. I insist on her honesty and she’s kind, always breaking the news to me about my thinning hair and/or bald spots in the most gentle way possible. I trust her to tell me if this product is working and, of course, I hope to see results myself.

Testimonials and five star reviews abound. Of 131 customer reviews on, 69 have five stars, 15 have four stars and 20 have three stars. Fifteen reviewers gave the product one star while 12 gave it two.

I have noticed one pleasant side effect from taking Viviscal and that is healthier, stronger nails. I saw similar results when I took biotin years ago although, honestly, biotin did nothing for my hair so I stopped taking it. It’s an ingredient in Viviscal, as I mentioned above.

Viviscal is available at drugstores nationwide and online or you can get it here. (I’ve also included several other products from the Viviscal line in case you’re interested.)

Please let me know if you have tried Viviscal or have any knowledge of the product by leaving a comment in the section below. I’d love to hear from you and so would other readers.

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2 Comments on I’m Taking Viviscal for Hair Loss

  1. Lauren
    February 18, 2016 at 8:11 pm (2 years ago)

    Did you have success with the viviscal? I just started taking it for my alopecia areata!

  2. Melody Lesser
    February 19, 2016 at 5:08 pm (2 years ago)

    Lauren – I found that the Viviscal generally helped my hair from falling out but, sadly, did not prevent AA. In fact, my colorist found a spot at the salon yesterday. It’s upsetting, of course and a bit of a shock although I had the warning sign that often precedes an AA episode: I lost the middle eyelashes on my left eye. I have also been using the iGrow helmet since August and my hair stylist and colorist noticed a difference in the texture of my hair. It’s thicker and I notice growth also. But again, it didn’t stop the AA – and doesn’t purport to. I don’t believe Viviscal is for AA either. I am in the process of deciding whether or not to go to my dermatologist for shots into the new spot. I’ve never not had shots when I got a spot – but they hurt and I’m not that eager to do them. If you would like to discuss this further – and in private – email me at I don’t have a magical cure. No one does, from my research, but it may help to talk about it with a fellow AA sufferer. All the best to you! xo, Melody

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