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  • Writer's picturemandy

How to cut a hair sample

The hair sampling procedure is very important for accurate Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) readings.You will need your own Stainless Steel Scissors.

  1. Prepare the sample

We only use a lab which does not wash the hair sample that they receive. On the day that you plan on taking the sample:

  • Wash your hair with a simple shampoo to avoid possible environmental contamination.Do NOT use any Shampoo that contains:

    • Zinc (eg Heads and Shoulders, Anti-dandruff Shampoo)

    • Selenium (eg Selsum Blue)

    • Lead (found in Colour Darkening shampoo/cream eg Grecian Formula, Restoria)

    • Manganese

    • Apple Cider Vinegar (too harsh and can affect extracellular mineral levels)

    • Or any other mineral as this may skew the results.

  • Avoid using conditioners or other products on your hair after you wash it.

  • The hair should also be free of all gels, oils and hair creams prior to sample collection.

  • Hair samples must be taken from dry clean hair, between 4 - 12 hours after washing your hair.

  • Do not sending dirty, sweaty or greasy hair. This will not produce results that are accurate to your body chemistry.

  • After you wash your hair, rinse it with distilled or reverse osmosis filtered water to rinse off any minerals in your tap/shower water.

  • The portion of hair to be collected should be untreated/dyed. If all of the hair has been chemically treated, wait at least 6 - 8 weeks until sufficient new virgin growth has emerged for collection.

2. Cut the sample

Have someone else cut your hair sample for you.

  • Use stainless steel scissors

  • take the sample from as close to the scalp as possible

  • take sample near the nape of the neck

  • cut in thin lines from various locations of the scalp to avoid bald spots.

  • cut off any hair that exceeds 1 inch long and retain the sample closest to the root. This represents the most recent activity (i.e. 1 month = approx 1 cm of hair growth).

  • Weigh sample with kit - place sample on the scale provided - when the balance, or scale, tips, you have provided enough hair for the lab to perform the HTMA.

For Shaved Head: If you shave your head, then cut with an electric razor what you can and save it in a paper envelope. The next week or so, razor cut it again and repeat until you fill a tablespoon with hair or tip the scale if you have a paper scale to weigh hair.

3. Place the hair sample into a small envelope and post to the lab

Before placing the collected sample into the clean hair specimen envelop. write your name, sex, age on the indicated areas. Then place the hair sample into a small white envelope provided and seal. Mail to the address provided in the sample kit.


What if you cannot provide head hair?

As a last resort (current science is based on head hair samples) other locations may be used. The first choice for men is beard hair. If this is unavailable, the next best location is under arms. Body hair can also be used but it is not recommended. Pubic hair is the least accurate. Avoid combining hair from multiple parts of the body. The other possibility is fingernails and toenails. Our main lab, Analytical Research Labs does not accept nail samples but if you wish to request this option, we will send it to a different testing location.

Why should the hair be closest to the scalp?

All reference range correlations, dietary recommendations and interpretive report content assumes that the complete hair specimen originated solely from the above defined regions of the scalp. Hair grows on average 1cm per month. Thus, a 2cm sample will provide data from the previous 2-months. If you were to provide a sample of 1cm long, you would be looking at approximately 1-month in the past.

Do not send in long hair samples. If you send in long hair, you will be sending in “old” information. This will not provide an accurate reading of your current metabolic state. However, the hair samples can be shorter, that suggested above. Actually, the shorter, the better. This means they will be more up-to-date.

What if my home has a water softener?

If your home has a water softener, before sampling hair you must shampoo it twice with either unsoftened tap water, or preferably reverse osmosis water from the supermarket.

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