Beat the Cheat: Can You Cheat a Hair Follicle Drug Test?

The hair follicle drug test is a relatively simple process. When you consume drugs, they circulate in the bloodstream. Since the blood nourishes your hair follicles, trace amounts of drug metabolites will be retained in the cortex of your hair strands. By testing the 1 1/2 inch closest to your scalp, the lab can identify what substances you have been abusing in the past 3 months.

More and more, employers and parents are turning to the hair follicle drug test, and for good reason. Unlike other types of drug testing, a hair follicle drug test has a longer window of detection (10 to 90 days), a simple collection process (150 strands of head hair or hair from other parts of the body are collected), and the ability to detect a wide variety of drugs, including synthetic opiates and prescription drugs.

People are also showing preference for the hair follicle drug test because there are fewer ways that test participants think they can use to cheat the process. Wondering if you can cheat a hair follicle drug test? Here are the details.

Can You Cheat a Hair Follicle Drug Test?

Does Coloring or Bleaching Hair Beat a Hair Follicle Drug Test?

Some people think that coloring or bleaching their hair will help them pass a hair follicle drug test. Although a 1997 study did find that admitted drug users who bleached and colored their hair did test at lower levels for cocaine, cannabis, and opiates than their counterparts without chemically treated hair, there was no concrete finding about what levels of chemical treatment were needed to yield results low enough to pass the test.

Furthermore, since the participants were self-reporting their drug use, their estimated levels of usage may have differed than the actual amounts, skewing study results. Hair follicle drug testing has only improved since this study, so chemically treating your hair will not affect the outcome of your drug test.

Kansas City | Can You Cheat a Hair Follicle Drug Test?

Can You Shave Your Head to Pass a Hair Follicle Drug Test?

Passing the hair follicle drug test is as easy as shaving your head, right? Wrong. Head hair is the preferred specimen for the test simply because it’s easiest to collect — but if the head is shaved or balding, the collector can use your other body hair to conduct the test. So unless you commit to a full-body shave, this drug test cheat won’t work either.

Can You Substitute Hair in a Hair Follicle Drug Test?

Since the process requires an observed collection, hair follicles used in the drug test are collected directly from the suspected drug user. This means no one can substitute hair from someone else — only the hairs directly obtained by the specimen collector will be admissible for testing.

Do Detox Shampoos Work?

The market is flooded with so-called drug detox shampoos that manufacturers claim will help mask the drug metabolites in your hair, helping you pass the test. But these products don’t work because they fail to penetrate the hair cuticles and reach the cortex, where drug metabolites are deposited during hair growth. Essentially, the hair follicle drug test analyzes the inner part of the hair shaft, so any products that simply coat external parts of the hair have no affect whatsoever.

Research has supported this fact — one study found that detox shampoos had no significant effect on the concentration of drugs in the hair so that all drugs were still above the detection levels —  and in some cases the concentration levels actually went up! If the lab suspects the use of a masking product or detox shampoo, they will wash the hair to rinse away chemicals before the test is conducted.

Hair Follicle Drug Tests in Kansas City

As you can see, the hair follicle drug test is a reliable way to see whether your teen, family member, or employee has been using drugs in the past three months. To schedule a quick, confidential hair follicle drug test in Kansas City, contact Test Smartly Labs today at (816) 875-0464.

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