home Hair & Skin arrow
Hair Analysis: What Hair Reveals About A Person

Hair Analysis: What Hair Reveals About A Person

Medical Director Dr. Hans-Georg Dauer

10 min

June 9, 2022

Hair is like an open book. Especially under the microscope it becomes a real storyteller. It is not without reason that it is used for analytical purposes.

Whether head hair or body hair – the fine structures play a major role in medical and cosmetic analyses. Without them, our laboratories would only be half as well equipped.

But what types of hair analysis actually exist, what goals do they pursue and are they really a sensible alternative to urine and blood tests? Let's get to the bottom of this together.

What Are Hair Analyses Used For?

Did you know that drugs can be found in your head and body hair? That's right, that's why the police always ask for a hair sample if they suspect drug use.

But hair analysis is not only used for criminal purposes. It is also in the service of health. As such, it can provide insights into the status of trace elements in our body. Which trace elements are we lacking? And what about our mineral reserves? Do we need to replenish them?

By detecting potential deficiencies, it helps us to tackle the problem – for example with a more balanced diet, high-quality nutritional supplements, more exercise in the fresh air or rich care products suitable for your hair type.

In some cases this is already enough to kick-start a regeneration of run-down hair roots.

By the way: Hair analysis has also proven its worth in cases of hair loss. For good reason: After all, it gives conclusions about the cause of the cosmetic flaw.

Why do we lose hair? Do we suffer from hereditary alopecia? Is it alopecia areata? Or is it perhaps a persistent iron deficiency behind it? All those questions can be answered with the help of a hair analysis.

How Does a Hair Analysis Work?

Hair Analysis With a Hair Sample

For this type of hair analysis, 2 hair bundles are taken from the patient, mostly from the densely overgrown back of the head. This is where the hair removal is least noticeable.

For patients with half or full baldness the area for the sample is usually chosen at other parts of the body – for example, the back, arms or even armpits.

Immediately after sampling, the hairs are wrapped in aluminium foil as a precautionary measure and sent to the relevant laboratories for analysis. The body or hair sites that were used for collection are subsequently marked.

Measurement results can be expected after about 14 days.

Hair Analysis With HairScan

To prepare for a HairScan, first, the areas of the scalp that best represent hair health are selected

Thanks to high-resolution imaging technology, the scanner captures detailed information about the hair structure, growth patterns, and other relevant parameters.

Various characteristics are measured and analysed automatically, including:

  • Hair density
  • Hair diameter
  • Distribution of vellus (fine) and terminal (thicker) hairs

Once the analysis is complete, the system generates a comprehensive results report.

The report contains detailed information on the condition of your hair, potential problem areas, and recommendations for further action.

Hair Analysis at HAIR & SKIN

At HAIR & SKIN, hair analysis is an easy and quick process. Thanks to advanced HairScan technologies, taking a hair sample becomes unnecessary.

The HairScan is part of all our complimentary consultations for hair treatments. It allows our specialists to quickly gain in-depth insight about the condition of your hair and its roots – and therefore creating optimal conditions for improving their health.

A Deep Dive into the Objectives of Hair Analysis

The fields of application of hair analysis are manifold. They range from forensic to health and cosmetic purposes.

In forensics, hair and blood samples are mainly used to solve criminal offences, such as drug and alcohol abuse. In addition, they are of course also used in the search for perpetrators in criminal prosecutions such as murder, manslaughter, theft, fraud or sexual offences.

Hair analysis is also indispensable for proving abstinence from alcohol, for example as part of a medical-psychological examination (MPU).

Simple, fast and reliable, it checks the alcohol content in the body and is therefore, together with the blood sample, the most important storage and measurement instrument.

Good to know: You are planning a hair transplant? Then you are also directly confronted with the hair analysis. In preparation for the procedure, the responsible hair surgeon will get a concrete picture of your hair loss.

What form of hair loss do you suffer from, how far has it progressed and how can it best be treated with cosmetics and surgery? The hair analysis provides a reliable answer to all these questions.

Besides forensic and cosmetic purposes, physicians also use hair analysis as a kind of health check. In this case, the expert speaks of hair mineral analysis. Meanwhile, it is even considered a certain substitute for the classic blood test.

The great advantage of the Hair Mineral Analysis: It not only records the current state, but also provides information about the past. In this way, you can keep an eye on your historical values as well as your current values.

That sounds interesting? In fact, why don't we get to the bottom of the goals of hair analysis in a little less detail?

Hair Analysis for Health Purposes

One of the main goals of hair analysis is to check our state of health. How fit are we really? For this purpose, the so-called hair mineral analysis is used.

Its concept: It conscientiously documents the mineral and trace element balance in our organism. Do we have enough trace elements and minerals at our disposal or do we need to actively improve them?

And what about the pollution in our bodies? Do heavy metals and toxins make our lives difficult? The hair analysis finds out for us.

The special thing about the hair mineral analysis: Unlike the blood sample, it not only provides information about the here and now. It also travels into the past.

To be more precise: the hair mineral analysis identifies previous shortages of trace elements and minerals. And it is precisely this overview that makes it easier to identify the cause of the deficiency.

Clarification of Hair Loss

Hair loss can be a real mystery. It often takes years before we finally discover the exact cause.

But the longer the diagnosis is delayed, the greater the suffering of the patients. They want to know what is going on.

But why is the diagnosis so difficult? It's simple: hair loss has many causes. There is no single trigger. We have to look all the more closely, read the traces all the more carefully.

Because only if we are absolutely sure of the cause, the treatment will also be a success.

What do you say we go over the most common causes of hair loss together? Here's a little overview:

  • Androgenetic Alopecia: It is by far the most common form of hair loss. Almost every 2nd man and every 4th woman has to struggle with it.

    The trigger is a genetically determined hypersensitivity of the hair roots to the hormone DHT. They react so sensitively to it that they fall out.

  • Circular Alopecia: Do you have circular, coin-sized bald patches on your scalp that you can't explain?

    This looks a lot like alopecia areata and is probably a violent autoimmune reaction of the body. It's attacking itself, so to speak.

  • Diffuse Alopecia: Your hair is thinning without a fixed pattern? This could be diffuse alopecia. In this case, the entire mop of hair slowly loses its fullness, strength and vitality.

    The reasons for this kind of hair loss are completely different. For some it may be stress, for others malnutrition. Still others have had to fight a severe infection or are suffering from hormonal fluctuations.

As you see, there are many different triggers for hair loss. All the more important is a professional hair analysis. It actively supports us in finding the cause and brings us a big step closer to the right therapy.

Especially before a hair transplant, a thorough hair analysis is worthwhile. This is the quickest way for the doctor to get an overview of your current hair situation. And the better their overview, the better the treatment.

A comprehensive hair analysis is also part of the medical repertoire at HAIR & SKIN. Before each autologous blood treatment or transplantation, your hair is analysed in detail with the help of a HairScan.

Based on the results of the analysis, our experts then create an individual treatment plan that promises you the best possible result.

We look behind the scenes of your hair, so to speak. Because only if we understand what exactly triggers the hair loss, we can also effectively act against it.

Once we have determined the trigger for the tired hair growth, we immediately start with your desired treatment. And this is how you can imagine the process:

The Autologous Blood Treatment at HAIR & SKIN

At the start of every autologous blood treatment, blood is collected. Our experts take a small amount of blood and carefully prepare it for the therapy with the help of a centrifuge.

They then isolate the valuable, nutrient-rich blood plasma from the remaining components and inject it carefully into the light areas on your scalp.

Done, now it's the blood plasma's turn. It immediately stimulates the limp hair roots with its nutrient cocktail and brings life back into the hair coat. It looks visibly fresher, livelier and more powerful.

Hair Transplantation at HAIR & SKIN

Are you looking for a permanent solution to hair loss? Then a professional hair transplant at HAIR & SKIN is worthwhile. For this purpose, the attending physician will first take hair that has grown vigorously from a selected donor area.

In most cases, they use the back of the patient's head. For a good reason: the hair roots are particularly robust here. Not even the dreaded hair loss hormone DHT can harm them – exactly the right conditions for a hair transplant.

After removing the donor hair, the doctor stores the transplants in a nutrient-rich solution. Here they receive all the active substances they need in order to shine. If they are cut off from the body's natural supply for too long, they will die sooner or later.

The physician then prepares the recipient area. With the help of a fine blade, they open tiny channels on the scalp that will serve as a new home for the donor hairs.

Once they have completed their work, they plant the grafts into the canals step by step – one after the other. They pay particular attention to the direction of the patient's growth. After all, the final result should look as authentic and natural as possible.

Done, now patience is required. After 9 to 12 months, the patient can look forward to the final result.

Hair Analysis for The Detection of Substances

Hair analysis has also long been irreplaceable for forensic purposes.

The main reason: In contrast to blood analysis or urine sample, it detects prohibited substances even after several days. Thus, it is far more than just a snapshot.

Hair analysis has proven to be particularly useful for investigating drug abuse or doping. The same applies, of course, for determining fitness to drive.

It reliably measures the proportion of ethyl glucuronide (ETG) in the body. It is also very popular for regular checks of alcohol abstinence in the event of an MPU.

Hair analysis is just as indispensable in forensic medicine as it is in forensic toxicology. After all, how could poisoning, for example, be detected more easily and quickly than with the aid of hair analysis?

Hair analysis is therefore an important instrument in criminal prosecution.

What Does Science Say About Hair Analysis – Top or Flop?

In science, opinions on hair analysis vary widely. Many physicians and researchers are still skeptical about it – not for forensic purposes, but for health purposes.

Especially when checking trace elements and minerals in the body, hair analysis should be done with caution. Not infrequently, it suggests the suspicion of poisoning or deficiency, which greatly unsettles the patient. What is wrong with them?

But often this uncertainty is not justified. It is merely a suspicion that is not confirmed upon closer analysis.

Thus, according to renowned scientists, hair analysis is a useful complement to blood analysis, but not a useful substitute for blood analysis.

Less critical than the mineral and trace element analysis is the analysis of hair health. If patients wish to have their exact hair color determine or want to explore the causes of their hair loss, the analysis can pay off.

Thus, the hair analysis is always a good choice for "hairy matters".

Good to know: In principle, the following applies to every hair sample: Interlaboratory tests achieve the most reliable results. Only if several different laboratories come to the same conclusions, the measurement results are also considered reliable.