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Ricki Lake reveals she's been struggling with the 'quiet hell' of hair loss for 30 years

Actress Ricki Lake reveals why she shaved her head. HLN's Shyann Malone and Melissa Knowles have the details.

Posted: Jan 2, 2020 11:40 PM
Updated: Jan 2, 2020 11:40 PM

Ricki Lake posted a photo of herself on New Year's Day with a very closely-cropped haircut and shared a deeply personal story.

"Liberated and Free, Me. 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," she wrote in lengthy posts on Instagram and Facebook. "Deep breath Ricki.... Here goes..... I have been struggling with hair loss for most of my adult life."

It's been "debilitating, embarrassing, painful, scary, depressing, lonely, all the things," she said.

Lake said she even has felt suicidal at times and that no one, not even her therapists, knew the "level of deep pain and trauma."

She said she can only assume it's the years of having her hair color processed for different roles in her career, from her starring turn as Tracy Turnblad in the 1988 film, "Hairspray" to hosting a daytime talk show for more than a decade. She also said it could be her years of dieting, genetics and more.

"From Hairspray to Hairless. :( 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. Working as talent on various shows and movies, whether DWTS or my talk show, also took its toll on my fine hair," she added.

As for remedies, she says she's tried it all.

"I got used to wearing extensions, really just over the last decade. All different kinds, tried them all, the ones that are glued on, the tape-ins, the clip ins, and then into a total hair system that I hated, and finally to a unique solution that really did work pretty well for me for the last 4 or 5 years. I tried wigs on a few occasions but never could get used to them. It all felt fake and I was super self-conscious and uncomfortable," she said. "I've been to many doctors, gotten steroid shots in my head, taking all the supplements and then some. My hair would recover and then shed again. It was maddening."

The response to her post was overwhelming, with more than 29,000 likes on Instagram and hundreds of comments from supporters and people sharing their own experiences with hair loss.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 161516

Reported Deaths: 3916
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10708104
Hinds10519205
Harrison7555113
Jackson6708128
Rankin6130112
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Clarke95653
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Tunica63519
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Jefferson Davis60217
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Claiborne59316
Humphreys55719
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Kemper49318
Webster47914
Wilkinson41322
Jefferson38712
Franklin3726
Choctaw3697
Sharkey33117
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 260359

Reported Deaths: 3776
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34716513
Mobile20452370
Madison14215153
Tuscaloosa13755173
Montgomery12731243
Shelby1110278
Baldwin9341137
Lee801566
Morgan722855
Etowah692170
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Marshall675058
Houston552739
DeKalb512940
Cullman480246
St. Clair460357
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Elmore432567
Walker3861112
Talladega381157
Jackson361623
Colbert341546
Blount315845
Autauga289342
Franklin262634
Coffee257717
Dale244454
Dallas234932
Chilton233641
Covington232434
Russell23153
Escambia206932
Tallapoosa190291
Chambers187551
Clarke164120
Pike163814
Marion148236
Winston144725
Lawrence137336
Pickens129720
Geneva12818
Marengo126724
Bibb125238
Barbour121429
Butler120042
Randolph107022
Cherokee106724
Hale101432
Fayette99916
Clay94825
Washington93921
Henry8996
Monroe84611
Lowndes82629
Cleburne80714
Macon77122
Crenshaw73330
Conecuh72914
Lamar7258
Bullock70919
Perry6987
Wilcox65518
Sumter59522
Greene44518
Choctaw43519
Coosa3824
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