Losing her hair made her feel suicidal at one point, she reveals.

By Christina Oehler
Updated January 30, 2020
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Ricki Lake debuted a new look for the new decade—but it's not the kind of fresh style you might think. The actress and talk show host, 51, opened up about her newly shaved head in an emotional Instagram post describing her battle with hair loss.

"Liberated and Free, Me," she captioned a photo of herself taken by photographer Amanda Demme, which she posted on Janary 1. "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."

Lake explained that she has struggled with hair loss throughout most of her adult life, and the condition has had a huge impact on her mental health.

"There have been a few times where I have even felt suicidal over it," she continued. "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. 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 that while she doesn't know exactly why her hair began to fall out, she pins the blame on several reasons.

“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.”

While only Lake isn't sure what caused her own hair issues, she's right that pregnancy, stress, and losing weight have all been linked to hair loss. Melissa Piliang, MD, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, previously told Health that hormonal birth control can also result in hair loss.

"A number of androgen (male) hormones can interact with the hair follicle to make it thinner and finer," explained Dr. Piliang.

Lake was right about something else: her post resonated with fans and other celebrities. "Love you so much," Andy Cohen commented on her photo. "Beautiful inside and out!"

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