Ricki Lake shares 'painful' struggle with hair loss

Ricki Lake recounted her longtime struggle with hair loss while debuting her newly shaved head. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Ricki Lake recounted her longtime struggle with hair loss while debuting her newly shaved head. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Ricki Lake is going public about her "painful" struggle with hair loss.

The 51-year-old actress and television personality recounted her longtime struggle with hair loss in a Facebook post Wednesday on New Year's Day while debuting her newly shaved head.


Lake said she's feeling "liberated and free" after shaving her head and sharing her story.

"First things first, I am not sick. (THANK GOD.)," Lake wrote. "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."

"I have been struggling with hair loss for most of my adult life," she said. "It has been debilitating, embarrassing, painful, scary, depressing, lonely, all the things. There have been a few times where I have ever 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."


Lake said she shared her struggle in an effort to connect with and help others.

"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 said.

Lake played Tracy Turnblad in the 1988 film Hairspray, and said her hair "was never the same" after undergoing chemical processing and teasing for the movie. She named several other factors she believes contributed to her hair loss.

"In my case, I believe my hair loss was due to many factors, yo-yo dieting, hormonal birth control, radical weight fluctuations over the years, my pregnancies, genetics, stress, and hair dyes and extensions," she said. "Working as talent on various shows and movies, whether DWTS or my talk show, also took its toll on my fine hair."

Lake said she used hair extensions, wigs, steroid shots and supplements over the years but was ready to "be set free" from the demanding maintenance schedule.

"Well, it is a new year and new decade and a new me. With the love and support of some of my dearest friends ... I buzzed my hair off and it feels so good!" Lake said.


"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," she added. "(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.)"

Lake also shared her story on Instagram, where model Denise Bidot, DJ Marques Wyatt and journalist Dan Wootton voiced their support for her in the comments.

"I told you! You look like a QUEEN! Love you!! Happy New Year and New You!" Wyatt wrote.

"You are incredible. Thank you so much for sharing this. And you look beautiful too," Wootton added.

Lake previously told People her hair "never recovered" after being treated with peroxide for Hairspray.

"John wanted it to be completely authentic, and he made me peroxide half of my hair," she said in 2016, referencing Hairspray director John Waters. "I had to do it repeatedly throughout the eight-week shoot. It ended up like cotton candy and, honestly, my hair never recovered."

Lake made a cameo in NBC's production of Hairspray Live! in 2016 and competed as the Raven in The Masked Singer Season 1 this year.


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