Hair loss supplement advert banned

An advert for a supplement that claimed to reduce hair loss has been banned by a watchdog for being misleading.

The manufacturers of Viviscal said it contained "a rich compound of marine extracts, organic soluble silica and fortified vitamin C" which provided "the nutrients needed for healthy hair".

The national press advert also featured a testimonial from actress Sue Holderness who played big-haired Marlene in sitcom Only Fools and Horses.

She stated: "I liked the fact that Viviscal is all-natural and the scientific evidence seemed to make it well worth a try ... My hairdresser was astonished at the improved appearance of my hair ... Viviscal helps nourish my hair from within to keep it in brilliant condition."

The complainant, The Scalp and Hair Clinic, challenged whether the advert misleadingly implied that Viviscal could improve thinning hair and reduce hair loss. Manufacturer Lifes2Good agreed to amend the advert so that this was no longer the case.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) also launched an investigation into whether the hair maintenance claims were misleading and could be substantiated.

Lifes2Good told the ASA that the nutritional benefits of various ingredients relating to hair were well documented, and that studies with marine protein showed improvements to hair growth.

But the watchdog found that the evidence did not show that the ingredients in the supplement benefited hair.

It said: "Because the evidence sent did not show that the ingredients in Viviscal had been shown to have a positive effect on hair health, we concluded the claims that the product could 'nourish hair follicles' and keep hair in 'optimum health and condition' had not been substantiated."

The ASA ruled that the advert must not appear again in its current form.