Ricki Lake silently struggled with hair loss for 30 years before finally making the decision to shave it all off
Ricki Lake opened up on social media this week to discuss her intensely personal struggle with hair loss. She explained that she’s dealt with it almost her entire adult life, and in sharing her truth, she’s inspiring so many other women in the process.
“Liberated and Free, Me,” she writes. “First things first, I am not sick. (THANK GOD.) I am not having a mid-life 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.”
That secret? Hair loss. “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. 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,” she admits.
But she has a greater aim with her candid post, and that’s helping others not feel alone. “I know that by sharing my truth, I will be striking a chord with so so many women and men. 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,” she says.
Lake says her hair loss began around the time she played Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray back in 1988. She says after they “… triple-processed and teased my then healthy virgin hair every 2 weeks during filming, my hair was never the same.” That along with “… yo-yo dieting, hormonal birth control, radical weight fluctuations over the years, my pregnancies, genetics, stress, and hair dyes and extensions” caused Lake’s hair to fall out.
After trying a number of methods to keep her hair, including maintaining extensions of every variety and even wigs, Lake is ready to own her natural look. It was after a 20-pound weight loss that made her hair start shedding again that she decided she was done. “This time, I say no more,” she writes. “I have to be set free.”
That means no more “maintenance every 10-12 days, where my added hair would need to be tightened (sometimes painfully) and my gray hair would need to be colored.” She shares that she wouldn’t go out of town longer than 12 days so that she could visit the salon and have her hair taken care of. “I felt like I was a slave to this maintenance schedule,” she says.
But 2020 is the year where Lake is done. “… I buzzed my hair off and it feels so good!” she writes.
Lake’s powerful post did a lot more than free herself from the burden of hiding her hair loss and taking great lengths to cover it up. Other people took to the comments of her post to say that Lake’s honesty helped them feel more confident about their own hair loss.
“I am liberated.
I am free. I am releasing and letting go. I am brave. I am beautiful I am love.
For 2020 and beyond, I want to be real.”
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