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In light of COVID-19, hand sanitiser can be found everywhere we visit. We are advised to use it on entering shops, when visiting restaurants and bars, and when hand washing is not an option. With its widespread use, our Customer Services team are being regularly asked whether it will interfere with alcohol test results. We can reassure you that the use of alcohol-based hand sanitiser, when used as instructed (not consumed and not directly applied to the hair), won’t affect your hair or nail alcohol test results; even when used excessively.

Two types of alcohol are used in alcohol-based hand sanitisers. The most common type contains between 60% and 95% ethanol. The other type of alcohol-based hand sanitiser contains isopropyl alcohol. In addition to alcohol, hand sanitisers also contain additional antiseptics, such as chlorhexidine and quaternary ammonium derivatives, emollients and gelling agents to reduce skin dryness and irritation, a small amount of sterile or distilled water, and fragrance or foaming agents.

AlphaBiolabs tests for two specific markers of alcohol in head hair: ethyl glucuronide (EtG) and fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEEs), which include the marker ethyl palmitate (EtPa). These alcohol biomarkers are absorbed into the hair via different routes. EtG is produced by the liver and is incorporated into the hair mainly through sweat. FAEEs (EtPa) are produced in the blood and incorporated into hair via sebum. Our hair alcohol tests analyse both markers because they are affected by external factors in different ways. Therefore, the findings should support each other in order to determine chronic excessive consumption of alcohol. The level of biomarkers found in the hair can show an overview of 3 or 6 months, depending on the length of hair sampled.

Our nail alcohol testing also analyses samples for EtG. These EtG biomarkers become trapped within the keratin fibres along the length of the nail providing a detection period of up to 12 months.

Will hand sanitiser affect my alcohol results?

In summary, AlphaBiolabs analyses hair and nail samples for specific markers of alcohol. This means that hand sanitiser will not affect your alcohol test results. In addition, the use of hand sanitisers will not affect alcohol blood tests.

For further information and advice on alcohol testing 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 info@alphabiolabs.com. Alternatively, you can find a wealth of information on our website.