Ricki Lake Opens Up About Her Debilitating Hair Loss After Silently Struggling for 30 Years

rickilake via Instagram

Usually when we think of hair loss, we think of male pattern baldness. We think of an older man with a receding hairline or a bald spot on the back of his head. While not all men lose their hair, enough men do struggle with hair loss that it’s not necessarily embarrassing. It may be unwanted, but it’s not uncommon.

When a woman loses her hair, it can be even more mentally distressing than when a man loses his hair. Hair can be a big part of a woman’s personal style, and it is something that she probably never considers living without. Female hair loss is not talked about very often.

A year ago, Ricki Lake went public about her struggle with hair loss. In an Instagram post, she shared a picture of herself with a newly shaved head and started by explaining that she was not sick or having a mid-life crisis. She went on to admit the truth.

I have been struggling with hair loss for most of my adult life.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.”

Lake went on to explain that she thinks the damage done to her hair while filming “Hairspray” in 1988 is a huge part of why she has suffered from hair loss as an adult.

Ever since I played Tracy Turnblad in the original Hairspray back in 1988 and they triple-processed and teased my then healthy virgin hair every 2 weeks during filming, my hair was never the same.”

Lake shared that she has tried everything from steroid shots and supplements to hair extensions. She desperately wanted her hair to be like it was when she was younger, but nothing worked. She shared, “My goal is to help others while at the same time unshackle myself from this quiet hell I have been living in.”

A year later, Lake’s hair has grown into a silver pixie cut. She is no longer silently struggling, and she finally loves herself again.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ricki Lake (@rickilake)

Lars Skjoeth diagnosed Lake with androgenetic alopecia, which is basically male pattern baldness, or in Lake’s case, female pattern baldness. Lake has been using a treatment created by Skjoeth, and she described it as “game-changing.”

Lake wrote, “My hope is that I am able to help others struggling, as I did for far too long.  This journey has been such a gift for me, I finally truly love my hair, and more importantly love myself unconditionally from the inside out.”

Do you struggle with hair loss? Does it surprise you that hair loss could have such an impact on someone’s mental health?