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Ricki Lake reveals shaved head as she details 30-year struggle with hair loss

'I know that by sharing my truth, I will be striking a chord with so, so many women and men'

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Thursday 02 January 2020 20:59 GMT
Ricki Lake reveals shaved head after opening up about hair loss (Getty)
Ricki Lake reveals shaved head after opening up about hair loss (Getty) (Getty)

Ricki Lake has revealed she has buzzed her hair and feels “liberated and free” while opening up about her years-long battle with hair loss.

On Wednesday, the former TV presenter shared photos of her shaved head on Instagram, where she explained in a lengthy caption the “quiet hell” of hair loss she had been dealing with, as well as the impact it had on her mental health.

“Liberated and free, me,” Lake wrote. “First things first, I am not sick. (THANK GOD). I am not having a midlife crisis. Nor am I having a mental breakdown, though I have been suffering.

“Suffering mostly in silence off and on for almost 30 years. And I am finally ready to share my secret.”

The 51-year-old then explained that she has been struggling with hair loss for most of her adult life, and that it has been “debilitating, embarrassing, painful, scary, depressing, lonely, all the things”.

“There have been a few times where I have even felt suicidal over it,” she continued. “Almost no one in my life knew the level of deep pain and trauma I was experiencing. Not even my therapist/s over the years knew my truth.”

According to Lake, she believes the thinning began in 1988 when her hair was triple-processed every two weeks for the role of Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray.

She also explained that she believes other factors contributed to the issue as well, such as “yo-yo dieting, hormonal birth control, radical weight fluctuations, pregnancies, genetics, stress, and hair extensions and dyes”.

In an effort to combat her hair loss, the actress says she tried everything from extensions to supplements and steroid shots, but that nothing helped in the long-term.

“My hair would recover and then shed again,” she wrote. “It was maddening.”

According to Lake, she decided to share her story because she knows it will resonate with and possibly help other men and women who are experiencing the same thing.

“I know that by sharing my truth, I will be striking a chord with so, so many women and men,” she said. “I am not alone in this and my goal is to help others while at the same time unshackle myself from this quiet hell I have been living in.”

The actress concluded her post, which has been liked more than 14,000 times on Facebook, explaining that for 2020 and beyond she wants to be “real” and that she is “so done with hiding”.

Lake’s post has prompted hundreds of messages of support from her fans and followers, who have praised her for her honesty.

“You’re so courageous and you look wonderful,” one person wrote.

Another said: “You’re gorgeous and a deep inspiration for so many.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, hair loss can be caused by factors such as genetics, age, weight loss, hormonal changes, medications and supplements, stress, and/or certain hairstyles.

While hair loss is most common in men, the American Hair Loss Association notes that 40 per cent of women will experience visible hair loss.

You should see a doctor if you are distressed by hair loss and want to pursue treatment, according to the Mayo Clinic, or if you experience sudden hair loss, which can signal an underlying medical condition.

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