Can my partner absorb the testosterone in testosterone gel when applying it to me?
The short answer is yes. As your partner rubs testosterone gel onto your skin, they’re effectively rubbing it in to their own hands, which is why it is always recommended that anyone applying testosterone gel to another person wears gloves.
The long answer: Transfer of testosterone to another person by skin-to-skin contact happens if the gel hasn’t had time to dry. Females who absorb testosterone from the gel, if exposed for long enough, can develop masculine features like excess body hair, acne and a deepening of their voice. Children can show signs of early puberty or more masculine features if their testosterone levels are artificially increased. Some of these features may not be reversible.
To avoid transferring testosterone to others, the gel should be applied to clean, dry skin (usually immediately after a shower) then allowed to dry. Putting on a t-shirt or some other clothing over the treated area should prevent transfer. You should wash your hands straight after applying testosterone to yourself.
Anyone who applies testosterone gel for another person should wear gloves for application and wash their hands afterwards. However, if skin-to-skin contact occurs, the skin should be cleaned immediately.
Want to learn more about testosterone? Check out the info on our Testosterone deficiency page or browse through our resource library for fact sheets, information guides and videos on symptoms, causes and treatment of low testosterone.
Answered by: Prof Rob McLachlan AM FRACHP PhD
Prof Rob McLachlan is the Medical Director of Healthy Male. He specialises in the area of male reproductive medicine and has made significant contributions to research in endocrinology, infertility and andrology.
In 2016, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to medicine in the field of endocrinology, particularly in men’s reproductive health, and to medical research.
He is also an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Deputy Director of Endocrinology at the Monash Medical Centre, and consultant to the World Health Organisation on male infertility regulation.