"I did that assuming I was going to rock a bald head for the rest of my life."

By Maggie O'Neill
March 02, 2021
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Welcome to Deep Dives, a new Health video series where inspiring people talk about a health topic that's meaningful to them and share relatable stories around health and wellness. Watch Ricki Lake's Deep Dive above!

Like many women, Hairspray actress and former talk-show host Ricki Lake, 52, put her hair through a lot when she was younger. Whenever she was filming, her hair was teased daily and colored every couple of weeks, Lake tells Health. This caused damage, but nothing too alarming.

Then years later, after yo-yo dieting, her hair starting coming out. "It was after that 30-pound weight loss that my hair just started shedding, and I was freaked out. It was an awful time," she says. Lake was eventually diagnosed with a condition called androgenetic alopecia, a type of hair loss potentially caused by a variety of factors that can be permanent.

For many years, Lake turned to extensions and hats to hide what was happening to her scalp. "I wore hats much of my career. I've rocked some good hats. It was really to hide what I was feeling insecure about, which was my head," she explains.

But she grew tired of concealing her condition. "I took matters into my own hands in a very dramatic way," Lake says, explaining that she decided to shave her whole head. "I needed to be released from this suffering." She didn't know what would happen after her head shave. "I had no way of knowing if my hair would recover. I did that assuming I was going to rock a bald head for the rest of my life."

Eventually, Lake—who uses a product called Extract made by Harklinikken—saw that her hair grew back. She loved the statement she made by wearing her hair short and not coloring it. "It's really liberating. What we do as women, the things we do for beauty—I love that I'm turning it on its head and it goes back to self-love and self-esteem," she says.

Watch the rest of Lake's deep dive in the video above.

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