How accurate is hair sample allergy testing


Hair sample testing is a safe, non-invasive form of allergy testing that has become increasingly popular among those looking for an alternative to skin prick tests or blood tests. Also known as strand-by-strand hair analysis, this type of test involves collecting a small hair sample that is then tested for allergies or intolerances to a wide range of food, environmental and chemical substances. While the results can be extremely useful for those who are looking for complete insight into their sensitivities, it’s important to understand that accuracy may vary from one laboratory to another and from one individual to another.

Before discussing the accuracy of this type of allergy testing, it’s important to note that not all laboratories are created equal. A reputable lab should always operate under strict guidelines and ensure that the sensibilities collected during the test come from outside sources (not exogenous). This means that any laboratory you choose should have an emphasis on quality assurance when it comes to their testing services. Additionally, pay attention to how reports are reviewed and distributed by your chosen laboratory – look for clear language and quality images in printed materials as well as professional advisement over any preliminary findings displayed on their website or included in your report.

What is Hair Allergy Testing?

Hair allergy testing is a laboratory procedure used to test for sensitivity to certain substances that enter the body’s system. It uses a sample of hair from the patient’s head to detect substances that may cause allergies and other sensitivities. This type of testing is relatively new, but it has been gaining popularity amongst allergists and healthcare providers due to its ease of use, accuracy and cost effectiveness compared to other methods.

Hair samples are analysed in the laboratory for IgE antibodies which are released when the body comes into contact with something it is allergic to. These antibodies then bind to the hair follicles and can be detected in subsequent tests that analyse a sample of your hair. The result of the test will determine whether or not you have allergies caused by different environmental factors such as food, pollen, animal dander or other airborne particles.

The accuracy of hair sample allergy testing depends largely on the accuracy of measuring IgE antibodies in the sample, as well as using only fresh, clean samples for testing. Contaminated samples or those that have been exposed to dirt or other irritants may lead to false positive results and inaccurate results overall. Additionally, newer methods such as ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay) have been found to be more accurate than traditional patch tests in detecting IgE association with potential allergens in hair sample testing.

How Does Hair Allergy Testing Work?

Hair sample allergy testing is a simple and noninvasive way of identifying allergies and intolerances to food and other environmental factors. The test requires only a small sample of the person’s hair, usually from the head or back of the neck. This hair sample is sent off for testing in a laboratory, where it undergoes a process called ImmunoCAP-S testing. This type of testing looks at antibodies in the blood which can indicate whether or not an individual has an allergy.

The lab results will show what sensitivities have been identified and will provide an indication as to how severe these sensitivities are to certain foods or triggers. Since many people who have allergies do not know that they are affected by particular substances, this type of testing can be hugely beneficial in helping them understand their reactions to such things as food and environmental exposures.

Hair sample allergy testing has been known to detect hundreds of different airborne substances, such as trees, grasses, house dust mites and animal dander; as well as some foods including gluten, dairy products, eggs and nuts. However, it is important to note that due to its high degree of sensitivity when interpreting laboratory results; this type of test may provide false positives on occasion.

Moreover, it is important for individuals to seek medical advice before making any dietary changes based on laboratory results as this may cause unwanted issues with regard digestion or nutrient absorption.

Benefits of Hair Allergy Testing

Hair sample allergy testing is a medical procedure designed to identify specific allergens which may be causing distress to an individual. It provides a thorough, yet less invasive way of discovering one’s allergies by using the patient’s hair sample instead of typical blood tests or skin tests. The hair sample procedure is comparatively faster, easier to accomplish and yields results that have been proven to be very accurate in predicting potential allergies.

There are many advantages associated with hair allergy testing for both the person being tested, as well as their doctor or specialist working with them:

  • Hair samples are easy to collect and analyze since very little preparation is needed to complete the test successfully.
  • When compared to skin-prick tests, this particular method of investigation does not require administration by trained healthcare personnel or require visits to a physician for results.
  • Hair samples can also help more accurately identify hidden allergies that can be missed by standard lab methods including saliva and blood tests.
  • This method gives medical professionals more knowledge on how certain substances, such as foods and medications, can potentially cause adverse reactions in different individuals depending on the severity of their sensitivity levels.

Overall, while there are some limitations associated with this type of antibody evaluation process mainly due to lack of scientific data available, ordering a hair sample allergy test offers numerous advantages over more traditional types of allergic analysis due its superior accuracy in predicting possible allergies even when tested against highly sensitive tests like radioallergosorbent (RAST) methods.

Accuracy of Hair Allergy Testing

Hair sample allergy testing is gaining popularity as an alternative method for diagnosing allergies and food intolerances. It involves taking a sample of hair from the root, sending it to a lab to be tested for allergens, and then receiving the results. While this method has become more accessible, questions about its accuracy remain.

In this article, we will discuss the accuracy of hair sample allergy testing.

Factors That Affect Accuracy

Hair sample allergy testing is a useful tool, but like all testing methods it has limitations. The accuracy of the test result can be affected by several factors, including the type of sample collected and how it is tested, as well as any medications taken prior to the test.

The quality of the sample itself is one of the most important aspects for accurate results. Improper sampling techniques or a contaminated sample can lead to inaccurate results. For example, if strands from different parts of the head are mixed together or other sources are present (e.g., pet hair or dust), this can adulterate the results and make them less reliable.

The method used for testing can also contribute to accuracy issues. Hair samples may be analyzed with

  • skin prick tests,
  • patch tests,
  • or blood tests,

but unfortunately each method has its own set of potential errors. It’s important to speak with your doctor about which type of test is best for you.

Finally, any medications taken prior to sampling could create false positives in hair allergy testing results due to their ability to interact with antibodies in your immune system. It’s important that these medications be listed on any health record you provide to your healthcare professional before taking an allergy test using a hair sample as this will help ensure that any potential cross-reactivity between different allergens and drugs is taken into account and doesn’t affect your test results.

Pros and Cons of Hair Allergy Testing

Hair sample allergy testing is becoming an increasingly popular method for determining food allergies. Unlike traditional skin prick tests or blood allergen tests, this type of test does not require any physical contact with the allergens and may be more cost effective than other diagnosis methods. However, hair sample testing has some drawbacks that individuals should consider before deciding if the test is right for them.


  • Noninvasive: Hair sample tests do not involve physical contact with potential allergens and are therefore more comfortable than other methods of detection.
  • Accurate: This type of testing is based on research which suggests that it can provide highly accurate results if done correctly, making it an ideal option for diagnosing food allergies.
  • Comprehensive: Hair sample allergy testing provides a much larger range of potential allergen targets than traditional tests and can therefore detect numerous sensitivities in one sample.
  • Cost Effective: In comparison to other types of allergy tests which are often expensive, hair sample tests provide more accurate results at a lowered cost.


  • Misinterpretation: Proper interpretation of the results relies on extensive knowledge and expertise on part of the tester which may lead to inaccurate diagnosis if guidelines are not followed carefully or specific criteria not taken into consideration.
  • Sensitivity: Some people may have difficulty tolerating substances used in hair preparation like cleaners, dyes and treatments; this could result in contaminated samples or false positives due to chemical reactions between different components included in the test–leading to incorrect diagnosis.
  • Expense: While this method tends to be less expensive than traditional skin prick/blood based tests it still requires specialized laboratory equipment as well as highly trained technicians to execute, making it potentially costly when compared over time with other methods available for diagnosing allergies.


In conclusion, hair sample allergy testing offers a unique and convenient way of assessing possible allergies in an individual. It is necessary to understand the limitations of this form of testing before relying on it as a definitive diagnosis.

Clinical studies have generally shown that hair sample testing is not as reliable in diagnosing allergies compared to other forms of assessment such as skin prick tests and IgE tests, due to the small differences between individuals in terms of hair composition, coloring, texture and curl patterns making results unreliable in comparison.

Nevertheless, it can be useful for providing an insight into possible allergens which should then be followed up in conjunction with other forms of diagnostic testing for a reliable diagnosis.