After Ricki Lake showed off her newly shaved head in an emotional Facebook post about hair loss, she inspired other women to share their own experiences.
“You feel all sorts of emotions, especially when it comes back and then falls out,” wrote one person on the TODAY Show Facebook page. “It’s a never ending cycle for me.”
Added another, “[I’ve] suffered from hair loss since my early 20’s. (I have PCOS) It has been difficult, especially in the beginning. So much of myself was intwined (sic) with my glorious, thick, curly hair. Over the years, I’ve just come to accept it, and when the time comes, I too will shave it and probably wear wigs.”
Another woman, who experienced hair loss caused by hormonal changes, wrote, “I struggle more in the winter with it then the summer. Mostly because whatever hair I do have frizzes from the winter and that makes me look really sickly. No products help with it either. Wigs are not my thing so I am trying to find what will work for me.”
Lake’s own Facebook page was also flooded with comments after she addressed her nearly 30-year battle with hair loss.
“It has been debilitating, embarrassing, painful, scary depressing, lonely, all the things,” Lake, 51, revealed in her post. “There have been a few times where I event felt suicidal over it.”
According to Dr. Ann Kearney-Cooke, a Cincinnati-based psychologist and body image expert, anxiety and depression are common side effects of hair loss in women.
“Luxurious hair is associated with beauty and good health, so it effects the body image of a person and they’re self-esteem,” Kearney-Cooke told TODAY Style. “When a woman’s hair falls out, it leads to doubts about their appearance and how people are going to see them.”
Kearney-Cooke also noted that people tend to associate hair loss with men. "For a woman it's not expected," she said. "Hair plays a major role in the overall look of a woman."
Luckily, Lake is feeling better these days, thanks to her new buzz cut.
“I am liberated. I am free. I am releasing and letting go,” she wrote. “I am brave. I am beautiful. I am love.”