Author Bio: Dr. Sanusi Umar MD is the author of this article.
A new example of celebrity hair loss went public in January when Ricki Lake revealed to fans that she has been dealing with hair loss for close to 30 years.
The 51-year-old former talk show host got her start in showbiz as the bouffant-boasting, aerosol-embracing lead Tracy Turnblad in 1988’s movie-musical Hairspray.
But ironically enough, Ricki confessed a battle with celebrity hair loss that has been “debilitating, embarrassing, painful, scary, depressing, [and] lonely” via social media on Jan. 1.
She posted a black-and-white photo of herself with a dramatic new look—her once-lush raven strands were sheared into a buzz cut.
How It All Began
In a detailed Instagram post, Ricki, who was second runner-up in the 13th season of Dancing With the Stars, told her 185K followers that her hair was fried behind-the-scenes of Hairspray.
“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. (Yes, that was all my own hair in the film.) From Hairspray to Hairless,” she wrote in the caption of the photo that has garnered 72K likes.
She also attributed the hair loss to the stress of her career, hormones, crash dieting, weight fluctuations, and genetics.
Running Out of Options
Desperate for a cure, Ricki tried various temporary solutions to her celebrity hair loss problem with no luck.
“I’ve been to many doctors, gotten steroid shots in my head, taking all the supplements and then some,” Ricki wrote on Facebook.
“My hair would recover and then shed again. It was maddening. 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.”
View this post on Instagram
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. Deep breath Ricki…. Here goes….. 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. 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. 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. (Yes, that was all my own hair in the film.) 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. 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. 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. To read more: please go to my Facebook page. ❤️
Although she admitted that her hair loss had even led to “suicidal” thoughts, Ricki conjured up the courage to open up about her struggles on a Jan. 3 episode of Good Morning America.
“This was personal. I’m overwhelmed by the reaction,” she told host Robin Roberts on-stage sans wig or hair extensions.
“I was really scared people were going to say mean things,” she continued.
Despite Ricki’s expectations, fans received her news with open arms and even posted some of their own selfies revealing hair loss.
“Your courage has set so many women free today, and for that I say, thank you,” one Facebook user wrote.
“Thank you for being honest and showing beauty in vulnerability,” another said.
Ricki continued on Good Morning America: “I’m holding my head up high. I’ve never been prouder of myself and I’m really touched by the reaction and the fact that I can help others through this process.”
Causes of Hair Loss in Women
Hair loss can occur in women for a variety of reasons, and these causes are often treatable or reversible. When a case of female hair loss is assessed, there is a search for treatable secondary causes. When a clinician spots a treatable cause (aside from genetic causes), the correct method of care has the potential to reverse or halt hair loss.
Reversible / treatable causes of hair loss in women can include:
- Untreated hypothyroidism
- Sleep deprivation
- Folic acid deficiency
- Vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to anemia
Remedies Recommended to Ricki
What if you were in Ricki’s shoes? Dr. U Clinic has multiple options that you could consider taking if you did.
- Nano fat transfer: Nano fat transfer happens after fat is taken away from other places on the body and liquified. Then, it’s used to improve skin texture and tone, smooth out lip lines, crows feet, tear troughs and more. While this process takes place, the patient says goodbye to unwanted fat, and will procure tiny bits of fat in their most concentrated state, right in the place they need them with the paramount precision!
- DrUGro™ Gashee topical products: Once you’re ready to use a product from this collection for the first time, your nostrils can anticipate something they weren’t expecting from the natural scents. Real, natural ingredients create a bright red product that most never saw coming from a hair product. Plus, Gashee products could smell a bit like an herb to you. Why? Because, well—they are herbs. Gashee contains ingredients that have been proven to stimulate hair growth.
Can you relate to Ricki’s celebrity hair loss story? Book a free hair transplant consultation with Dr. Umar today!
- OMG: Elton John Opens Up on His ‘Agonizing’ Hair Transplants and Confronting Burglars in His Wig
- 5 Celebrities Who Use EMSCULPT