It is becoming more common for successful, smart aging men to engage in testosterone optimizing programs through their doctors to keep them at the top of their game in both their personal and professional lives.
After all, what logical and intelligent man would want to have or accept, the lower energy and lack of drive, weaker cognitive function and body of a 60 to 80-year man? For me personally, no thank you! I will gladly keep my hormones optimized and all the wonderful benefits that come from doing so, in top shape with my current and future aging years.
For various reasons and some of them legit ones, there are often negative and premature opinions placed on testosterone creams and gels. Many of these preconceived notions are influenced by well intending, but ill-informed friends or younger wannabe bodybuilders spreading their “bro-science” around on the online forums. These are often then, read by other unknowing newbies looking to polish up their T levels but looking for the best route to do so.
The Different Types of Creams & Gels, Explained
One of my favorite and currently preferred methods of administering TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) is with compounded testosterone cream. Due to both well-known TRT gels, Testim and Androgel, these transdermal approaches through the skin have become more recognized in recent years. It has also been tried and utilized by many men in these years as well, primarily using these two brands and their potency or amount of, testosterone delivered to its male users.
Many men could slather themselves with either Testim or Androgel that their PCP gives them (who typically doesn’t know enough about hormones & endocrinology) and still not get enough testosterone into their blood stream. Typically, in my experience these low dose gels at only 1-2% potency, provide enough to elevate testosterone a little but just enough to slow the body’s endogenous (natural) production down. Two steps forward to take two steps back leaving men in the same predicament there were in to begin with – Having low T and feeling like crap.
This is where a good doctor and compounding pharmacies come into play nicely. A good compounding pharmacy takes the same bioidentical testosterone and puts it into a gel or cream at the dosage one’s doctor specifies. This allows us men to get much more “bang for our buck” with a better “manly” dose of testosterone based on the volume applied.
Many guys who cannot seem to get past the 300’s or 400’s with the weaker 1-2% Testim or Androgel, break through those barriers easily with higher dosed 5-20% compounded testosterone creams. Doctors with extensive knowledge and background in this area will strive to get you at the higher end of normal between 800-1200 (w/ normal Lab Corp values of 348-1198) while maintaining associated areas such as estrogen, PSA, platelets and hemoglobin counts in healthy ranges.
So, What Do the Percentages (%) Mean?
Figuring out the dosage or potency, of the prescription on your bottles of testosterone cream from the pharmacy is not as difficult as it may appear. Think of 1,000 mg of water, or the cream, as the starting point. Let’s say you mixed in 10 mg of testosterone into that 1,000 mg. That would be considered a 1% compounded solution. A 2% solution would be 20 mg mixed into the 1,000 mg. Common prescriptions can range from 1% up to 20%.
This being said, comparing a small 1% or 2% solution providing only 10-20mg of testosterone is drastically less than say a higher “manly” 20% solution providing 200mg of testosterone per application. This is where some of the unfair criticism of T creams are incorrect…
Many unknowing and although well intentioned fellow TRT users, lend their inexperienced opinions onto others with negative talk about how creams or gels are complete garbage or won’t work vs testosterone injections, etc. Much of these stem from being familiar with the more mainstream but lower potency, 1-2% gels. To get a fair comparison, one must compare “apples to apples”.
This in turn often instills reluctance and sometimes even the placebo effect in reverse, in a new cream user’s head, that any transdermal creams (even if they are a whopping 20% compounded) will not work if that is a man’s only option their doctor will script them.
This is unfortunate as mental defeat sometimes occurs with new a T cream user before the new TRT journey even gets underway. I have witnessed many men bitching and moaning not even a week into their new program (which is silly as it takes time to get checks and balances in place) under similar circumstances with soon to follow – a lack or refusal of being compliant with appropriate and prescribed dosing outlines each day, etc. while giving up before they get going.
In short, with an appropriate dosed cream or gel, a man can in fact get an incredibly nice boost in his testosterone levels that is as good and in some cases better, in comparison to what injections can give.
Potential Drawbacks with Creams
Unlike injections, creams applied to the service of your skin can leave a slight risk of having it rub off on others if you’re not careful. When it comes to young children or female spouses, it is important to not have them in contact with your application site after you apply.
This however, is a relatively easy thing to avoid. Many men find that applying cream to the back of their knee, back of calf or top of foot with a thorough rinsing of their hands after avoids any type of concerns here quite well.
There are however, unique circumstances such as a wrestling coach who can’t avoid creams rubbing off on others regardless of where it is applied. Or, a swimmer or scuba dive instructor who is in the water everyday who may not be able to keep the cream on long enough to reap its intended elevations in testosterone for them.
There is also the alcohol based gels that if applied over and over to the same area by someone who has sensitive skin or allergies, there is the rare case a slight rash may occur. With creams, you can expect to avoid this concern though.
All the testosterone from a cream or gel application will not 100% absorb.
Although delivery systems have become quite advanced and effective, you still will not get it all through your skin. There is a reason why smart doctors and men will use the higher 10-20% based creams to more than make up for this loss though and easily get those T levels up to nice, optimized levels.
Benefits of Creams Over Injections
First off, injections are great for many men! I am one of them and have had success with them before and they suited me well, except for the feeling of sticking a harpoon in my thigh twice a week and scar tissue that builds up over time. I have since become more fond of the ease and painless application of a little cream each day, all while feeling great with optimized testosterone levels.
To a large degree, a testosterone cream user can mimic our circadian rhythm each day. If you apply the cream in the morning each day, you can come close to copying the body’s natural production and diminishing of higher testosterone levels in the morning that then tapering off as the day goes on.
You may experience slightly higher DHT Levels. This can be good or bad depending on the man and how you look at it. Transdermals tend to raise DHT levels more than other delivery systems such as injections. This can be a plus for middle aged men who could use some help in the libido department. You should however, be mindful to watch DHT so they are not elevated above more supraphysiological levels that could lend to concerns with acne, prostate/PSA or any DHT related concerns. This concern is however, rare in most cases.
In comparison to main stream products, you and your doctor have control over concentrations and doses. With the name brand name products, you get what you get when it comes to concentrations. For example, Androgel is 1.62% and virtually all men using Androgel use this concentration. Want 5% or 15% Androgel? Tough luck, it’s not available my fellas. But with a compounded cream or gel, your physician can order almost any reasonable strength that you both feel or discover, works best for you.
No scare tissues. No worries about hitting a vein. No painful needles or feeling like you must stick yourself with a harpoon every week. No seesaw up and down patterns of your testosterone levels in between injections.
With applying steady levels at the same time each day with creams that try to reflect that of our natural circadian rhythm, this is thought to minimize any large spiked peaks and therefor may diminish odds of how much aromatization of testosterone into estrogen.
This is also believed by some to potentially lower our worries of developing polycethemia and with the aid of HCG (highly recommended with most TRT programs), may delay or minimize drops in LH and FSH.
Real Life Case and Feedback (with Proof!) From a T Cream User
In this short video below, I reveal my own recent lab work after being on compounded 20% testosterone cream for over 4 months. All my relevant health markers look very nice (cholesterol, AST/ALT liver counts, platelets, PSA, etc)! You will see that my testosterone is a WHOPPING 1500+ ng/dl and my free T is >50 pg/ng (high).
Take a quick watch here below (click):
Hopefully, this sheds some light while giving some experienced insight from a different angle on administration options for TRT. There can be and often is, much more to TRT than what is mentioned here with each individual program. Based off your lab work, physical, medical history, goals, concerns and your doctor’s input on all – every program is often different.
If you have been considering a testosterone replacement program for yourself, are over the age of 30 and would like to know more, you can learn about some of the testosterone optimizing programs and other services offered by the veteran HRT company, YOUTH-RX CLICK HERE.
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DISCLAIMER: Roger Bowman is not a doctor or registered dietitian. Contents of this article coming directly from MasculineWellness.com and not being communicated from your prescribing doctor should not be taken as medical advice. Any direct input from Roger Bowman is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health problem – nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician.