Viviscal has Biotin in it — and calcium. And vitamin C. It also contains shark cartilage, oyster extract, and a “marine complex” — which is apparently the secret elixir that gives the ingredient its power. The U.S. National Library of Medicine published an article with a double-blind placebo controlled study that showed the efficacy of this product; “significantly more” women who took Viviscal than the placebo noticed hair growth after 90 days, and even more after 180 days. Now it’s true that the funding for the study was provided by the makers of Viviscal, but double-blind is double-blind. Furthermore, in an entirely separate article, Beauty Editor writer Katrina Persad tried Viviscal for 6 months and documented her results in a quite convincing photo essay and article that showed fairly dramatic results — and Viviscal (as far as I know) did not pay her for her trouble. (Though she does seem to have gotten the product for free, which is quite a perk; the tablets cost about $40 a month.)
When you think of hair loss, men usually come to mind. You don’t see a lot of women walking around with receding hairlines or shaved heads as a result of hair loss. However, nearly 40% of women experience some form of hair loss by age 60. This hair loss is usually triggered by every woman’s favorite period of life: menopause. Since it’s a lot less socially acceptable for women to show signs of hair loss, balding can be emotionally devastating for many women.
In men, finasteride (originally marketed as Proscar) is approved for hair loss associated with androgens. In one study, 62% of women also taking oral contraceptives containing the synthetic progestin drospirenone reported improvement. So it may be effective for female hair loss in the setting of increased androgen. But studies are limited and it is harmful to the male fetus so should not be used by women thinking about becoming pregnant or who are pregnant.
Hypothyroidism (an under-active thyroid) and the side effects of its related medications can cause hair loss, typically frontal, which is particularly associated with thinning of the outer third of the eyebrows (also seen with syphilis). Hyperthyroidism (an over-active thyroid) can also cause hair loss, which is parietal rather than frontal.[unreliable medical source?]
Another sneaky culprit of hair loss is alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that confuses the hair for an attack on the immune system. According to Marc Glashofer, MD, a dermatologist in New York City, if your hair loss is occurring in round circles on your scalp, then you most likely are a victim of alopecia. Alopecia can be treated with steroids and even over-the-counter products like Rogaine.