“First things first,” Ricki Lake writes, “I am not sick. (THANK GOD.)” But as the “Hairspray” actor and former talk-show host revealed in Instagram and Facebook posts on Friday, she’s been secretly coping with hair loss, a condition also common in women undergoing chemotherapy.Read More
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Holding my head up high. The outpouring of love I am feeling is lifting my spirit higher than I ever thought possible. I’m deeply moved by all of the personal stories you’re choosing to share. We’re all brave and we’re all in this together. #RealBeauty2020 ????: @amandademme
While hair loss can be the result of such factors as alopecia and hormonal imbalances — Lake attributes her hair loss to several issues, including overworked hair while filming, hormonal imbalances and years of dieting — women in the cancer community who’ve lost hair due to chemotherapy were quick to show empathy for Lake. They congratulated her for letting go of the secrecy and shame, and for embracing herself and her hair loss.
But, they’re the first to admit, it’s not easy to lose one’s hair.
#rickilake you look great!! While I do not share your thinning hair problem. I do know what it’s like to loose my hair from a fight with ovarian cancer, after having very long hair. I felt the same, I am not my hair, I am me with or with out it. I think you look #beautiful https://t.co/XXesAvJxyc
— Laurie (@firefly31565) January 3, 2020
Later in the day, Lake posted to Facebook again, saying she was grateful for the outpouring of support.
“Holding my head up high,” she wrote. “The outpouring of love I am feeling is lifting my spirit higher than I ever thought possible. I’m deeply moved by all of the personal stories you’re choosing to share. We’re all brave and we’re all in this together.”
Among those who commented on the post was Heather Stevens Oleson, who wrote, “It takes a lot of courage to bear all. I was bald due to chemo. Though I knew it would bother me, I had no idea how bad. It has been 4 months and I have a bit of hair. The best way I can describe it , it makes me feel like I am naked in front of a room of people.”
In the original posts, Lake said for years she’s relied on hair extensions. “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,” she wrote, “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” Lake continued. “but never could get used to them. It all felt fake and I was super self-conscious and uncomfortable.” Many women undergoing chemotherapy have felt the same way.
Chemotherapy Side Effects: Hair Loss
“Not all chemotherapies used to treat cancer cause hair loss, but many do,” says Vivian Ruszkiewiczair a board-certified CRP and Women’s Health Practitioner with OhioHealth. “Hair loss typically begins about three to four weeks after a woman begins chemotherapy for ovarian cancer — and will continue throughout treatment.”
So it’s important to speak with your doctor about the personal issues surrounding the temporary loss or thinning of your hair, she said. Your doctor or nurse may be able to recommend a custom wig shop that specializes in working with women experiencing hair loss.
The good news: Hair loss associated with chemo is temporary. Women can expect regrowth around four to six weeks after they complete treatment. Patients may even experience some changes to hair color and texture when it begins growing back.