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Ricki Lake Reveals Hair Loss Hell

24 January 2020

Hair loss in women is a traumatic experience and takes a mental toll on the individual. It leaves some women afraid to come forward and get the treatment they need.

When celebrities make the brave step to talk about hair loss, it can motivate others to come forward too.

US TV talk show host Ricki Lake, who recently appeared on X Factor: Celebrity in the UK, has recently spoken about her “quiet hell” of struggling with hair loss for almost 30 years. Showing off her new buzz cut on her Facebook page, she opened up about issues she has faced, and how she felt suicidal during the ordeal.

Ricki’s hair loss struggles

In opening up about her condition, Lake theorised on the possible causes of her hair loss.

“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.”

She added, “From Hairspray to Hairless.”

Lake also pointed to other factors including “yo-yo dieting, hormonal birth control, radical weight fluctuations over the years, my pregnancies, genetics, stress, and hair dyes and extensions.”


In fighting her hair loss, Ricki spoke to many doctors who gave her steroid shots and supplements to try and encourage her hair to grow again. While this worked for a short period of time, her hair would continue to shed.

To ensure she kept her look on screen, various work was done. Ricki explained:

“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.”

It was while working in London that her hair shed again after an extreme diet – losing 1st 6lb in six weeks. It was this experience that convinced Lake to share her story and a new look for 2020.

“This time, I say no more. I have to be set free.”

While Ricki Lake will still on occasion wear a wig, she doesn’t want to hide her hair loss any more.

What causes Female Hair Loss?

Hair loss in women can be temporary and caused by factors such as stress, cancer treatment, weight loss or a lack of iron. In these cases, hair usually grows back when addressed. However, some hair loss will be part of growing older.

The general medical term for hair loss is alopecia, in which there are different kinds, including alopecia areata, alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis.

Female pattern hair loss is very common, affecting half of women over the age of 65 – although in some cases it affects younger women.

Other Famous Hair Loss cases

Ricki Lake adds to the number of female celebrities who have been brave enough to talk about hair loss:

  • In 2017, Nadia Sawalha posted a video explaining she had lost a third of her hair, showing her famous curls were fake.
  • Little Mix’s Jesy Nelson started losing her hair at 13, thinking that the bullying she had suffered played a part.
  • Actress Viola Davis woke up one day having lost half her hair at the age of 28. She related her hair loss to stress.
  • Jada Pinkett Smith started wearing scarves in 2018 after losing her hair, saying it was “terrifying when it first started.”
  • Keira Knightley revealed she wears wigs due to hair damage caused by regular dyeing.

What Hair Loss Treatment is available for Women?

At Optima Hair Specialists, our expert trichologists can help. You can book a consultation or call us today to arrange a confidential diagnosis appointment for just £99. You can also book a free consultation on the treatments available. Call or email us today.

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