• Author Spotlight: Morphological properties of hair and their variation when subjected to oxidation via chemical bleaching

    Posted by Huddersfield Press on 2020-05-29

Another article in our latest edition of Fields, our open access student research journal was written by Raeesah Ismat Saddiq. Her article address the issues surrounding hair analysis and hair bleaching. We asked her to tell us about her research, his article and his experiences.

My final year MSc project focussed on how hair analysis (particularly in cases of drug testing) can be inaccurate when the hair in question has been altered or treated with bleach. One example where this can be important is when hair samples are taken from expectant mothers in the social care system, to check recent drug use - hair can act as a timeline, holding information about previous drug use for up to 3 months. Very little research exists for how alteration of hair can be measured and in which manner this links with concentration of drug measured in the hair strand. This article sets out an investigation done over several months to explore how 4 key morphological properties of hair are altered after bleaching, with the hope that the research amassed here will form a foundation to build a method of accurately testing drug concentration in bleached hair. The 4 key properties considered were hair diameter, cuticle damage, porosity and fluorescence, with fluorescence becoming a standout indicator and an exciting property to focus on – as seen with novel results not yet perceived in current literature.

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