Hair Follicle Test for Alcohol

When it comes to testing for alcohol, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the Breathalyzer, which uses a breath sample to determine the blood alcohol content of the user. A Breathalyzer is a useful tool, but there are actually several different ways to test for alcohol, and one of those is the hair follicle test. If you’re interested in learning about how a hair follicle test for alcohol works, Blue Star Diagnostics is here to break it down for you.

What Is a Hair Follicle Test for Alcohol? How Does It Work?

A hair follicle test for alcohol uses a hair sample, almost always from the participant’s head, to test for EtG (Ethyl Glucuronide) and FAEE (Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters). EtG is a metabolite that’s absorbed into the hair via sweat, and it can accurately predict whether or not the participant of the test has drunk alcohol in the past 60-90 days. 

How Much Alcohol Does It Take to Show Up In a Hair Test?

One of the benefits of a hair follicle test as opposed to a more traditional urine test is that a smaller amount of alcohol can be detected and it cannot be diluted. Even a small amount of alcohol consumption can be detected with a hair follicle test.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in a Hair Strand?

Another benefit of hair follicle testing is that it can be used to test for alcohol consumption as far back as 90 days, whereas a urine test typically only shows results for the past 2-3 days. This makes follicle hair tests most useful for a situation where someone is mandated to stay sober, such as after a DUI incident or as part of a sobriety program. 

Can You Wash EtG Out of Your Hair?

If you’ve looked into hair follicle testing, you may have heard of “detox shampoos” that supposedly remove EtG metabolites from your hair, thereby allowing the users to test negative on a drug or alcohol test even if they have been using or drinking. Whether or not these products are fully reliable has yet to be proven, but it is true that even non-related hair products can skew results. 

How Accurate is Hair Follicle Testing for Alcohol?

Hair follicle testing is very accurate and is considered one of the most reliable tests for alcohol; however, certain hair products can interfere with test results. Certain hair sprays and gels, bleaching products, and perms and straighteners can all possibly skew the results. That’s why it’s important for the participant to provide a list of hair products that they use. With this list, the laboratory can avoid providing these false results. In addition, it’s a good idea to perform a different kind of test, such as a urine test, blood test, or fingernail test, alongside the hair follicle test.

Benefits of a Hair Follicle Test for Alcohol

If you’re looking for an alcohol test – for employees, employee candidates, or any other reason – a hair follicle test is an excellent idea. Hair follicle tests are non-invasive, reliable, and difficult to cheat. If you’re interested in learning more, call Blue Star Diagnostics now at (469)-656-7999.

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