A hair follicle test is one of the hardest types of drug tests to pass. Unlike conventional drug testing methods, the hair follicle tests use hair samples to determine if you have been using prohibited and regulated drugs in the past few months. Worried about a coming drug test that could put your job or your prospects for employment in danger? Read on to learn more.
What is a hair follicle drug test?
A hair follicle drug test is a type of test that measures a number of drug molecules present in hair strands. As drugs like prescription medications and prohibited substances like marijuana are introduced to the body through the digestive or respiratory systems, metabolites are circulated to different parts of the body including the scalp and hair. Drug metabolites are deposited in the hair follicle and stay in the hair shaft as the hair continues to grow.
Hair follicle drug tests are not limited to hairs on the head. Body hair can also be used to conduct the test. This means that even those who are bald or who have little scalp hair can still be subjected to the hair follicle drug test. Growth rates for body hair are considerably slower than scalp hair, so substances tested 1 year after ingestion may still be detected using a strand of body hair.
Time Period Covered by a Hair Follicle Drug Test
A typical hair follicle drug test covers a period of 90 days. However, this is not an exact period because variations may occur due to differences in the growth rate of hair from one person to another.
How the Test is Done
A standard drug screen using hair strands will require 50-80 strands of hair up to 1.5 inches in length. The test is done by cutting a 1.5-inch sample of the most recent growth as close to the scalp as possible. The hair samples are then screened through enzyme immunoassay technology, which is the procedure done for routine drug testing. The samples are then subjected to further tests, specifically tandem MS testing which is considered the most sensitive testing method for prohibited drugs. Results are released after 3 days, and they are kept on file by the testing agency for a period of 2 years. Substances that can be found using this test include cocaine, marijuana, opiates, methamphetamines, and phencyclidines.
Is hair drug testing better than urine drug testing?
Hair drug tests can allow for detection of prohibited substances months after they were ingested, which is not the case with urine drug testing. This is because drug metabolites are often excreted through urine 72 hours after ingestion. This makes it easy for a user to avoid a positive result by just abstaining from drugs for a few days. Hair drug testing, unlike urine drug testing, is also less invasive, eliminates the possibility of test evasion through adulteration or substitution and provides a greater accuracy because tests can easily be repeated.
Drug Test Shampoos: Do they work?
Drug test shampoos claim that they can strip away any trace of drugs from the hair. However, not all drug test shampoos can do this. Drug metabolites are contained in the hair shaft or core and the only way to remove them would be to damage the hair shaft through strong chemical reactions like bleaching or perming.
However, there are shampoos formulated with acidic bases that can strip the hair of toxic metabolites so they won’t be detected during the test. These shampoos work best when paired with timely detox procedures such as herbal cleanses and abstinence from any prohibited substance for a month or two prior to the test.
If you are looking at the possibility of drug testing either at work or as part of a legal investigation, it is important to stay away from any prohibited substance as long as you can. You can also do a natural detox cleanse for a week or two to remove all traces of drug metabolites from your body. This way, you have a higher chance of delivering a negative result when the test is conducted. Drugs can stay in your hair for three months and even longer depend on how long your hair is, so keeping a clean lifestyle is crucial if you do not want a drug test result to affect opportunities for education or work in the future.
Looking for ways to avoid a positive drug test result? Click here to know what shampoo for a hair follicle drug test can work best for you.