Ricki Lake is turning over a new leaf regarding an embarrassing problem that afflicts many women–she’s been battling hair loss for most of her adult life.
Although a more prominent problem in men, women are nearly as likely to lose, or have thinning, hair, according to medical references.
Most women notice it in their 50s or 60s, but it can happen at any age and for a variety of reasons.
The 51-year-old television personality revealed her struggle with the problem on Facebook this week, complete with a photograph showing off her buzz-cut hairstyle.
She said her decision to make the change was in keeping with her 2020 New Year’s resolution to feel “liberated and free.”
Her first step, she said, is opening up about her hair loss struggle.
“First things first,” she wrote. “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.
“Deep breath Ricki…. Here goes…..
“I have been struggling with hair loss for most of my adult life.”
Her secret, she adds, has been “debilitating, embarrassing, painful, scary, depressing, lonely.”
“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 therapists over the years knew my truth.”
A certain amount of hair loss is normal, according to dermatologists.
“Like a garden,a normal hair cycle should lead to a product, which is the hair,” says Wendy Roberts, a Rancho Mirage, Calif., dermatologist, told WebMD.
“Growth cycles are important because when they go awry, that is one of the reasons we have hair loss,” she explains. “It’s a very dynamic place and anything that can get the cycle off can cause hair loss.”
Most people lose anywhere from 50 to 100 strands of hair each day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
People can lose up to 250 strands of hair when it’s washed, Roberts said. But don’t avoid washing in an attempt to keep the hair, as it will fall out eventually.
Most human scalps contain about 100,000 hair follicles, according to medical references. Baldness is caused when hair follicles go dormant.
Leading research efforts are focusing on growing hair from stem cells taken from a person’s own skin or blood. The will be grown in a lab and implanted.
Ricki said she has been struggling with her hair since starring as Tracy Turnblad in the original 1998 film “Hairspray.”
“They triple-processed and teased my then healthy, virgin hair every two weeks during filming, my hair was never the same. (Yes, that was all my own hair in the film.)
She says her hair loss was also due to a number of other factors.
“In my case, I believe my hair loss was due to yo-yo dieting, hormonal birth control, radical weight fluctuations over the years, my pregnancies, genetics, stress, and hair dyes and extensions.
“Working as talent on various shows and movies, whether “DWTS” or my talk show, also took its toll on my fine hair,” she says.
Over the years, Lake says she’s used hair extensions, wigs and took steroid shots and supplements to hide or curb her hair loss.
My hair would recover and then shed again. It was maddening,” she added.
“So of late, after two months of bliss ‘working’ in London and after my last extreme diet where I lost 20 lbs in six weeks, my hair started shedding again, big time.
“I say no more. I have to be set free.”
She chose to go natural and reveal her struggle.
“Well, it is a new year and new decade and a new me. With the love and support of some of my dearest friends, John Bonny, Mandy Ingber, Sarah Havana Prats, and my love, Jeff Scult, I buzzed my hair off and it feels so good!”
Women tend to notice thinning on the top third to one half of the scalp. Sometimes their frontal line stays intact and does not recede like men, according to medical references.
A hereditary condition that affects about 30 million American women can also lead to hair loss, according to the America Academy of Dermatology.
The problem is, there is little to reverse the process in either men or women. Propecia and Rogaine, two drug treatments, have helped, but the drugs have only yielded modest results and don’t work for everyone.
“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,” Lake wrote.
At least now, she says she feels liberated and 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.
“(I will on occasion choose to wear hair, but now it is for fun, not because I am hiding anything. I am so done with hiding.)”