Last month, in an interview that shocked the entertainment world, TV personality, Ricki Lake, revealed that she has suffered in silence with hair loss for over thirty years, describing her experience as a “quiet hell” that has been “debilitating, embarrassing, painful, scary, depressing, lonely, and all the things.” Ricki went on to say in her public announcement that she has contemplated suicide, suffering for years from the “deep pain and trauma” of her hair loss secret. She feared that the internet would lash out when she went public with her story. Instead, breaking her silence liberated and freed thousands of men and women who have suffered in silence with their own traumatic hair loss experiences. From the deepest shadows of the internet, women and men from all walks of life emerged, inspired to share their own personal stories of hair loss. Doctors applauded her for coming forward. SmartGraft Physician, Dr. Alan Bauman, encouraged, “thank you for sharing your hair loss story with the world. I’m sorry to hear about your struggle and the pain it causes, but so glad you are holding your head up high and inspiring both women and men to share their story.”
Three weeks after Ricki broke her silence, Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley broke her own silence on her battle with alopecia, a process that caused her not to “want to go to sleep, because I did not want the morning to come where I would remove this bonnet and my wrap and be met with more hair in the sink. And an image in the mirror of a person who increasingly felt like a stranger to me.” She went on to share that her hair loss happened so quickly that she “didn’t have the luxury of mourning what felt like the loss of a limb,” and that her hair loss made her feel “naked, exposed, [and] vulnerable. I felt embarrassed. I felt ashamed. I felt betrayed and I felt like I was participating in a cultural betrayal.” From the grief and pain these two women shared came heroic stories of self-love, courage, and perseverance.Massachusetts Representative, Ayanna Pressley opens up on January 16, 2020 with her public announcement of her alopecia. Click Image to see the Interview.
As these women help to reshape the narrative on hair loss, they face a cultural inequality with their male counterparts. Society places separate pressures on women who suffer from hair loss and “rocking the bald” is statistically seen as more favorable for their male counterparts. In a study conducted by University of Saarland, men with male patterned baldness were perceived as less attractive and seen as weaker when compared to similar men who were bald. Women who suffer hair loss are statistically perceived as less feminine, and they are viewed as ill and less desirable.Image Source: https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2017/04/dwayne-the-rock-johnson-bald
It’s important to know that there are possible solutions available, from nutraceuticals to surgery. Solutions, such as the LOCKrx Inside Plan of Oral Nutraceuticals, help support a healthy microbiome of the gut, with a focus on improving total body wellness and creating the most hospitable environment for healthy hair to grow and flourish. Permanent surgical solutions like the SmartGraft, are life changing, but when hair restoration surgery is not an option, the reality of hair loss can be debilitating to accept. Those who suffer from hair loss know that the fear and feelings of rejection can creep in at any given moment. As Representative Pressley shared, “I think you may overly intellectualize it and say it’s just hair. People are well meaning and have been reminding me of the India Arie song “I am not my hair.” And that’s true, but I still want it.” For women with hair loss, there has statistically been no upside to going bald. But that narrative is changing thanks to trailblazers like Rikki Lake and Representative Pressley. If you suffer from any stage of hair loss, we’d love to hear your story. In this month that promotes all things love, let these women serve as an important reminder to love yourself, too.