Have you ever wondered how true those claims are about passing a hair follicle drug test by just washing your hair a few times really are? Well, the answer it appears is, it depends.
One of the problems with hair follicle drug testing, and the reason it is so accurate for a long period after you have smoked, eaten or otherwise imbibed your drug of choice, is that the hair knows all. Your hair grows slowly, but as it grows it absorbs the blood and oil from your skin and locks any toxins and chemicals that were on your skin or in your blood tight inside your hair cuticle.
In order to get to those locked away toxins you need to use a really good detoxing shampoo like this one here, but how do you tell what a truly ‘deep clean’ is? After all, most supermarket brand shampoos advertise that they provide a deep clean. First let’s look at how the drugs really end up in your hair.
How Do Drugs Get In Your Hair?
Hair is pretty amazing at absorbing all sorts of things. If you have ever been to a bonfire you know just how much your hair stinks from the smoke, even the next day, and sometimes even after you’ve washed it. However, it isn’t just external environmental smells and toxins that seep into your hair. Your hair also picks up everything you eat, drink or inhale.
Whenever you eat, drink or inhale anything at all the components of all of this is broken down and ends up in your blood stream. In the case of Cannabis, and other drugs both legal and illegal, tests have been created to be able to detect their presence. Hair testing can also be used for allergy testing, although there is some debate about whether it is truly accurate, but they can certainly tell if you have been drinking coffee https://www.consumer.org.nz/articles/choosing-wisely-allergy-tests
So, the substance ends up in your blood stream, and is processed by your liver before continuing to travel around your body in your blood stream. As the blood feeds into the brain and scalp, it also feeds the hair follicle, and it is this that cause ‘metabolites’ to attach themselves to the melanin in your hair. As your hair continues to grow the metabolites that have attached themselves grow with your hair.
With environmental pollution (if your hair has been exposed to physical smoke or vapor) the drugs still enter the hair shaft and attach to the melanin, but at a more surface level.
So, yes, in a hair analysis the technician is able to not only tell what you have been using, but how you were exposed.
What About Those Toxin Removing Shampoos?
A deep cleaning detoxifying shampoo should not be confused with a clarifying shampoo. Although they will both advertise amazing abilities to provide a deep clean, a clarifying shampoo is more designed to remove hairspray buildup from the surface of your hair. In order to remove the metabolites from the internal structure of your hair shaft you are going to need a detoxing shampoo not just a clarifying one.
Each strand of your hair is made up of lots of overlapping layers, rather like scales, and these scales wrap around the center shaft of your hair. The shampoo has to be able to force the ‘scales’ open in order to penetrate deep into the overlapping section, but also in order to be able clean the shaft itself. As you can image a standard supermarket shampoo is not going to be able to do this.
The shampoos on the market that do have the ability to perform such a deep clean are not cheap, and they are also very harsh on your hair, so if you want to actually have nice glossy locks, you won’t want to use it more than once every few months. Hopefully you won’t be facing hair drug tests too often.
Bleach & Dyes
A quick note on the other methods that circulate around the forums online. Bleaching or dying your hair does not work. Although it will help strip some of the surface layer of drugs it will not actually penetrate through to the hair shaft. A fresh dye job might help if you have been exposed to environmental drugs, but if you have any in your blood stream the metabolites will be detectable.