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Instructions to Collect a Hair Sample

Hair Analysis
Sample Results
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The accuracy and reliability of the test results and interpretation is based upon receipt of a properly collected hair sample that is clean and free from external contaminants. The ideal hair sample should be collected prior to subjecting the hair to any treatments like bleaching, permanents, or dyes. This also includes the application of hair sprays, creams, gels, and oils. Additionally, the hair should be washed within 24 hours and must be dry for at least 4 hours after shampooing.

There are several cautions and concerns regarding hair products. Most shampoos and conditioners do not contain metals and will not affect the accuracy of the analysis. However medicated shampoos of concern are:

  • Selsun Blue (selenium)
  • Head and Shoulders (zinc)
  • Grecian Formula (lead and iron)

The hair sample should be cut as close to the scalp as possible:

  1. Lift a section of hair.
  2. Separate a small area and cut.
  3. Take several small samples from 3-4 different locations and combine them on the tablespoon until it is full to form the sample. A paper scale also is provided. The scale tips when the sample is sufficient.

Several small samples combined will prevent leaving bald spots and provide a better sample.

For short hair, use the entire sample. For longer hair, the distal end of the hair longer than 1.5 inches should be cut off and discarded—use only the root end of the hair sample.

It is very important to place the hair sample in the sampling envelope provided before sending to the laboratory. Do not place hair samples in plastic baggies or aluminum foil. Do not staple the hair sample to the scale or sampling envelope.

Do not mix different types of hair such as head hair with pubic hair or beard hair and place in the sample envelope. It is strongly recommended to use head hair only due to its consistent rate of growth. Pubic and other body hair should be used only if sufficient head hair is not available.

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