Can alcohol testing be done via body hair?

Can alcohol testing be done via body hair?

Can alcohol testing be done via body hair? How is testing body hair different to testing head hair? Read our latest expert guide to find out

Can alcohol testing be done via body hair

Alcohol testing can indeed be done via body hair. Body hair testing is useful for detecting long-term alcohol use. A history of alcohol use can be established, and chronic and excessive levels can be measured.

When a person drinks alcohol, most of it is metabolized, or broken down, and is excreted from the body. More than 90% of alcohol is eliminated by the liver, and 2–5% is excreted unchanged in urine, sweat or breath. However, some of the metabolites that result from alcohol breaking down go into the hair, both head hair and body hair.

AlphaBiolabs determines alcohol abuse in head hair by detecting two metabolites of alcohol: ethyl glucuronide (EtG) and fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEEs). These metabolites are incorporated into the hair via different routes: EtG via sweat and FAEEs via sebum (an oily substance secreted by glands in the scalp). It is preferable to analyse both EtG and FAEE markers because they are affected by external factors in different ways. Therefore, performing these two different types of hair analyses can assist in building evidence to support the diagnosis of chronic excessive alcohol consumption with a greater degree of certainty.

Unlike head hair, body hair only measures EtG. However, body hair can still establish an overview of a person’s alcohol consumption for up to 12 months and is a useful alcohol test to measure EtG when head hair is not available.

For expert advice on alcohol testing solutions for members of the public, the legal profession or workplace customers, please call our Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300 or email us at