How do Drugs Get into Hair?

Have you ever wondered how we can even test for drugs in hair? Here we explain how this is possible using some simple diagrams.

Hair growth explained

Hair is produced by follicles that lie below the skin and it takes about two weeks for the hair to emerge above the surface of the skin. On average head hair grows at approximately 1cm per month with the hair closest to the scalp being the most recent growth.

Drugs Incorporation into Hair

Drugs are Incorporated into the Hair

Occasional Drug Use - How does it look in hair?

Habitual Drug Use - How does it look in hair?

As you can see by looking at the last two diagrams there is a difference in the types of analysis that the laboratory can undertake to show that drugs have been used, if there are trends in use, or if there are even drugs in the hair at all.

If you have any questions about how drugs are incorporated into hair please contact our Technical Information Group via

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