Hair Follicle Drug Test: Myths and Facts

Hair Follicle Drug Test: Myths and Facts


Hair drug test has become one of the best ways of drug testing in the recent times. This recent evolution and the exceptional drug detection might have led to several myths that puts people in confusion.

Here we have discussed about the most common myths and facts about hair drug test.

Table Of Contents:

How Far Back Does A Hair Follicle Test Detect Drugs?

A hair follicle drug test can detect drugs for a maximum of three months or 90 days. Hair Follicle Drug Test exposes long term abuse of illegitimate drugs or misuse of prescribed medications. This test exposes the usage of most commonly used illicit drugs of 17 different kinds. Common drugs include weed, opiates, COC, OXY, MDMA, AMP, PCP, benzodiazepines, and barbiturate drugs.

Hair follicle drug test is specifically chosen by some employers because of its long-term drug abuse detection and its frequency (the drug metabolites are stored in the hair for a maximum of 90 days.) 

The drug detection depends various factors including drug usage frequency, consumption, metabolism, age, weight, etc.

Learn more about Hair drug test detection period and how far back does a hair test go.

How Does The Drug Travel Into The Hair?

  • The drug traces get into the hair through simple passive transfer.
  • Firstly, the drug absorption takes place in the bloodstream.
  • The bloodstream extends to the hair root in a bound form.
  • When the keratogenesis occurs, the bound cells get passively diffused. They get transferred to the hair shaft.
  • The amount of metabolites present in the hair depends on the range of drug substances in the bloodstream.

In other ways, they may get through sebaceous glands after the formation of hair. But the most common way is the drug absorption due to keratogenesis. Here are some myths and facts of hair drug test. 

Myths and Facts of Hair Drug Test

Myth & Fact - 1 - Foolproof of Hair Drug Test

Myth - Hair follicle drug tests are not quite as foolproof as we thought

Hair follicle drug tests are one of the finest to find out illegal drug intake. But several external and internal factors claim that the two most important issues on the foolproof of the hair drug tests are Contamination and Reliability.

Contamination - It can happen due to accumulation or association. A non-smoker hangs out with a chain smoker which in turn gets tangled with the chemicals that the former smokes. 

Reliability - Hair tests cannot trace the exact amount of consumption of minor drug usage. 

Fact - Hair drug test is the foolproof test compared to others

Hair drug test can hardly be tampered with especially due to contamination. It  provides accurate results with near to zero errors compared to other drug testing methods.

Myth & Fact - 2 - What If I shave my head during the test

Myth - Shaving your head will save you!

You could hear some "big minds" discussing about shaving your head to pass the hair drug test.

Their argument will be like this - "Normally, it would take nearly 5 to 7 days for the drug to reach the hair follicle. So, it is best to shave your body completely after consuming any drug. That will provide you drug-free hair for a temporary period."

Fact - Shaving your head will not help you pass your drug test.

That is partially true. But hair in all the parts of the body will be containing the drug metabolites. The tester will primarily look for hair in the crown region and if you are bald, the tester might look for hair in your arms, legs, chest, or even in the pubic region. 

Further, shaving your head intentionally might be identified by the tester, which could lead to consequences.

Myth & Fact - 3 - Hair Drug Test for Infrequent Users

Myth - Infrequent user can pass the hair drug test

Occasional smokers believe that they can deceive the system. It is due to the misconception that the hair follicle test is used to detect vast amounts of drug traces and minor amounts will not get traced.

Fact - Infrequent user except passive smoker might show positive results

The truth is hair follicle tests can showcase the contact of various substances based on the amount and concentration of usage. Even if you use a pinch or large amount in the three months, you will get traced with the hair test. So, minor users cannot gradually escape from the test.

There is a slightest chance for passive smokers to pass the hair follicle drug test, but it is not a proven result.

Myth & Fact - 4 - Does bleaching your hair help pass a drug test?

Myth - Bleaching your hair will make you fail your hair test

Bleaching your hair will add further chemicals to your hair thereby making you fail your drug test. That is why, many fashion designers and models are afraid of taking a hair drug test.

Fact - Bleaching break hair strands and removes the toxins.

Bleaching the hair is found to be one of the best remedies that can wipe away the traces of drug metabolites in hair. According to a study, bleaching the hair can reduce 40-80% of the drug traces in the hair.

Bleaching breaks the hair strands and removes some of the toxins and drug traces from the hair. This mechanism is called “Leaching.” Bleaching may be needed multiple times based upon the strength and frequency of the drug used. Some drugs will show up on the hair drug test while others may not.

The more number of times a person bleaches the hair, the less likelihood of the drugs to be detected. But one cannot completely eliminate the drug traces by bleaching the hair.

Do not try this if you are allergic to bleaching or the chemicals associated with the bleaching process.

Myth & Fact - 5 - External factors has a greater impact on hair drug test

Myth - Drugs enter into hair through external contact

Drugs may also enter through contact of external ambiance with the hair. The external factor has a greater impact on hair that had led to the degradation of trust on hair drug tests.

Fact - The external contact is just a theoretical explanation but not proven.

A pubmed article on "Mechanism of Drug Incorporation into Hair" states that there is a possibility that the drug may enter into hair through multiple mechanisms. But it is not a proven.

If that disturbs you, taking a home-based hair drug test might help you take your real drug test with confidence.

Misconception of Hair Follicle Drug Tests

Testers stick to the belief that there is a relationship between the drug and the chemical residues in the hair follicles. The fact is that if a person consumes any drugs, then it would be dispersed to all parts of the body through the bloodstream. But due to the above discussed major factors like contamination and lack of reliability, the hair drug tests may lead to misconception.

Certain external factors may also make the hair drug test more challenging;

  • Legal Factors:  Some countries have made the consumption of Weed and Cannabis legal. So workplaces relying on hair drug tests for those drugs will never need them.
  • Detoxification:  People detoxify their hair using certain shampoo and laundry detergents. They also use some harmless acids like acetic and salicylic acids that might help them remove the drug residues in their hair.

Despite all these misconceptions, the hair follicle drug tests acts as the best drug testing method when it comes to identifying long-term abuse accurately.

Are you about to take your hair follicle drug test? Here is how you can pass your hair follicle drug test!

Final Thoughts

Due to the evolution of microbiology, the urinalysis got updated to hair analysis for drug testing. Evolution and up-gradation happen in every system to eliminate fraudulent practices.

So, if you want to pass the hair drug test, you can simply neglect taking any drugs and stay away from your drug friends. If unavoidable circumstances are the case, then the above facts may help you to get through the hair drug test.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Lice Shampoo Affect Hair Drug Test Results?

Permethrin shampoos are lice shampoos to get away with lice in hair. It contains accurate levels of chemicals like lanolin alcohols, butylated hydroxytoluene, glycerin, coconut oil and acids like polyoxyethylene cetyl esters, sodium hydroxide, lanolin alcohols, isopropyl myristate, etc.

These chemicals, if used excessively, may cause side effects like swelling, damage to the scalp and hair damage. Also, due to the presence of minor levels of drugs like alcohol and esters, there are greater chances that it would impact the hair drug test results.

Esters are one of the most prominent toxins present in the hair. Most of the detox shampoos are targeted to eliminate the FAEE (Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters) from the hair. So, it is best to follow some traditional medications or remedies for lice treatment rather than using harsh chemicals which would have a greater impact on your hair follicle drug test.

What type of Hair Drug Test Shampoos one should use?

The most recommended hair drug test shampoos are detox shampoos. Detox shampoos help relieve the drug toxins from your hair. If you are a heavy user, the hair drug test shampoos may not help you, but based on the usage frequency, the results may vary.

How does the detox help you in eliminating the drug metabolites?

Actually, the detox shampoos are used to eradicate the dirt and impurities from your hair. If you look into it deeply, it also helps in detoxifying the toxins that are already present in your hair.

  1. The detox shampoos penetrate your scalp and contact with the cuticle of your hair.
  2. It breaks the bonds of drug residues that are present in the hair cells and clears off all the dead cells encircling the skin surface.
  3. Thus the dead cells, impurities and the toxins will be wiped off from your hair through detox shampoos.

Older Post Newer Post