T Nation

Absorption of Creams


I can’t find anything consistent online about how creams absorb. One site says that the skin acts as a time-release store for the cream, which makes me think it can be sweated out, but other sites say that after an hour most of it is absorbed so you can shower/exercise.

I want to exercise in the morning. Maybe creams aren’t right for me. I wanted to try because I liked the idea of mimicking how real test works more accurately (spike in the morning, lower at night), so anyways I’m wondering if it’s better to exercise before putting the cream on, or putting the cream on and waiting an hour and exercising. I’d like to have high-T when I’m exercising but perhaps it’s not necessary.


Hi I currently use the testogel. Its Summer here in Australia I was pretty strict with the way I used it. I’d put on straight after a shower in the morning, I didn’t do anything where I sweated much for next 4-6 hours. I didn’t swim either and gave it 6 hours after application before I went for a swim. I have seen somewhere where like 50% is absorbed in the first hour then reduces over the next 5 hours. I went from Test of 8 to 38. So for me it really does get in, and the endo said not so worry to much about as you get another dose the next day, could be an issue if you sweated it out consecutive days. But I hear you, its pretty restrictive and you have to constantly think about it.


Just pin it. No worries about contact with females, sweating off, poor absorption (this is way more frequent than Drs admit). Takes a while to get good at it but its worth it.


Transdermal T products [gels, creams and patches] have low absorption rates. 10% at best and often lower or very little. With 90% wasted, the costs are very high relative to self-injected T which is least cost and 100% absorbed.

Creams should be higher concentrations so that lower surface areas are used for application. This reduces the amount of skin tissue driving T–>E2 aromatization. Applying to inner forearms and upper arms is best as this skin is thinner and typically little or no hair that can sequester some of the dose.

There are issues with possible transfer to other persons or children.

Sweating and showering are going to make things worse.

There is a well known pattern of very low absorption when there are thyroid issues. The thyroid issues can involve thyroid lab results that are perfectly normal, but the problems are still there but doctors will simply label things as normal and will be dismissive. The root problem is the blind allegiance to thyroid lab ranges that are stupid. Body temperatures are the best indicator of overall thyroid function see last paragraph in this post on how to check.

Please read the stickies found here: About the T Replacement Category

  • advice for new guys
  • things that damage your hormones
  • protocol for injections
  • finding a TRT doc

Evaluate your overall thyroid function by checking oral body temperatures as per the thyroid basics sticky. Thyroid hormone fT3 is what gets the job done and it regulates mitochondrial activity, the source of ATP which is the universal currency of cellular energy. This is part of the body’s temperature control loop. This can get messed up if you are iodine deficient. In many countries, you need to be using iodized salt. Other countries add iodine to dairy or bread.


KSman, thank you for the reply. Specifically I am wondering how long I have to wait to shower/exercise after applying the cream?

Something isn’t working for injections for me. I believe I am injecting correctly, but I had very low T from my last blood draw as well as very low E. My anastrazole dose was obviously way too high, but I’m concerned about the fact that the T wasn’t getting absorbed or something (33mg 3x/week injections).

Sorry to spread this over two threads. This one was specifically for the general question about when one can exercise while on creams and hopefully for the benefit of more than just me on this forum.