Total Shape is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.

How Does Testosterone Booster Gel Work?
Is It A Waste Of Money?

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: November 29, 2021

I’m always in favor of trying out new forms of supplements, especially when it comes to boosting testosterone levels.

It’s one of those underrated problems that can cause all sorts of weight and muscle issues.

But when I heard of topical testosterone boosting product, I was a bit surprised and skeptical.

I immediately got our team together and called in a nutritionist to do some research into these new products.

Our goal was to check whether these gels work and whether you’d need to be aware of any additional side effects of testosterone gel.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • Skin-absorbed supplements like patches, creams, and gels have become more popular, but many of them aren’t that effective. 
  • Current research suggests that natural testosterone gel products are not as effective as oral supplements.  
  • Testosterone topical application poses some additional risks for side effects, including a few surprising ones.

Does Testosterone Gel Work As Well As Supplements?

man with medical cream and a spoonful of pills

First of all, let me say that our findings here will focus on comparing topical testosterone gels to natural testosterone booster supplements. We’re not going to compare it to testosterone replacement therapy [1].

Medical therapies like that should only ever be discussed with your doctor.

To figure out whether these products actually work, we ran some tests with our team and some clients. And we broke it down into these sections.

Convenience

All of the testosterone supplements we recommend come in a capsule or pill form, and you simply take them before you go to bed. What we found is that applying testosterone gel before going to bed was less convenient.

You need to clean the skin area with soap and water first, then apply the gel and wait for it to fully dry.

Effectiveness

I regularly have blood tests done to check for low testosterone. I hadn’t taken my T-booster for a while and ran a test before and after using testosterone gel.

The results I saw were nowhere near as improved as what I would get with my usual testosterone booster.

Cost

This also seemed to be a negative factor. The testosterone gel products we found weren’t cheap.

And when we worked out the cost over several months, it looked like the gels would cost about 50% more.

How Does Testosterone Gel Work?

man using a skin care tube and a man showing off his biceps

There are two types of testosterone gel that I want to highlight here.

One is the natural booster type, and the other is a medicated topical testosterone booster that you would need a prescription for.

Natural Testosterone Booster

man holding a bottle and his thumbs up

Natural testosterone gel works in a similar way to a patch in that it aims to deliver active ingredients from herbs and minerals through the skin.

This might sound a bit crazy, but given the right ingredients, the human skin is remarkably effective in absorbing micronutrients.

The result would be a slow and gradual build-up of these ingredients that trigger increased testosterone production.

This can also impact secondary sex characteristics, including sexual desire, sperm quality and count, and improve muscle growth.

It’s the same thing that triggers facial and pubic hair, as well as the deep voice in teenage boys.

Medicated Testosterone Booster

Medicated testosterone gels are a bit different in the way they work.

Typically, they are prescription-only gels, and you would have to call your doctor about discussing such a testosterone treatment.

They deliver actual testosterone into the body for a more sudden increase and impact on the male sex organs.

And there are some very important reasons that these gels should only be prescribed by a doctor.

Does Testosterone Boosting Gel Have Any Side Effects?

man in bed asleep and another man holding his chest in pain

You need to look at this question in two ways.

First of all, natural testosterone gel products tend to have limited adverse effects that are mainly limited to allergic reactions.

That would typically be itching or a rash on the application site where you applied the gel.

For medical testosterone gels, the list is more extensive [2]:

  • Sudden aggressive behavior
  • Sleep apnea
  • Fluid retention
  • Frequent urination
  • Trouble urinating
  • Enlarged genitals
  • Trouble breathing
  • Heart attack
  • Negative drug interactions for medical conditions like heart disease, prostate cancer, and breast cancer

There are other side effects for certain medical conditions, and that’s why it’s so important to talk to your doctor before considering using medicated gels.

“The symptoms of low testosterone are sometimes obvious, but they also can be subtle. Testosterone levels decline naturally in men as they age over decades.” - WebMD.com.

Avoiding Transfer To Others

man mixing a hand cream

The other thing you need to keep in mind with testosterone gels is that once you apply the gel, it slowly absorbs.

Even once the skin is completely dry, the active compounds could still transfer to others through skin-to-skin contact.

And the effects of testosterone boosting ingredients on women and children can be very different. The increased risk of serious side effects of testosterone gel in pregnant women could even lead to birth defects.

So, be very careful if you do end up using such a gel.

Medicated Testosterone Booster

Medicated testosterone gels are a bit different in the way they work. Typically, they are prescription-only gels, and you would have to call your doctor about discussing such a testosterone treatment.

They deliver actual testosterone into the body for a more sudden increase and impact on the male sex organs. And there are some very important reasons that these gels should only be prescribed by a doctor.

FAQs

Are Testosterone Gels Banned?

Yes, some testosterone gels are on the list of banned substances for competitive sports. The medicated gels will likely show up on lab tests, which is an extra reason for athletes to be cautious.

Do You Need a Prescription for Testosterone Gel?

Yes, you need a prescription for most topical testosterone gels. There are some natural over-the-counter gels, but they are not the ones that tend to be used in testosterone treatment and testosterone replacement medication and come with significant risks of side effects.

Is Testosterone Gel Worth It?

For most athletes and people who want to rebalance their sex hormone levels, these gels are not going to be the right option.

Natural testosterone products don’t have the same effect, and testosterone therapy requires medical help from a doctor.

So, if you’re trying to boost your T-levels for some faster weight loss, increased muscle development, and some extra sex drive, then stick to natural supplements in the form of pills.


References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/men/guide/testosterone-replacement-therapy-is-it-right-for-you
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/sexual-health/in-depth/testosterone-therapy/art-20045728

About the author

You may also like

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *