1. Transdermal basics
Q: What is transdermal deliveryż
Transdermal delivery is a method of delivering active drugs through the skin barrier, and is in many cases superior to other forms of delivery (oral, sublingual, etc). It involves applying active substances (such as prohormones) dissolved in a carrier (a substance or blend of substances designed to promote delivery of the active ingredient past the skin barrier).
Q: Why is transdermal administration of prohormones superior to oral administration?
There are numerous reasons why transdermal delivery can be preferable. The first is that transdermal delivery allows prohormones to avoid first pass metabolism in the liver. Most prohormones are readily destroyed in the digestive tract and liver, often making the dosages required (and money spent) much higher compared to transdermal delivery. It is estimated that transdermal prohormones have a 30-40% absorption rate, compared to 5-15% for oral prohormones. Also, certain hormonal substances may be toxic to the liver, and transdermal delivery significantly lessens this. Secondly, orally delivered prohormones have very short half-lives and must be taken 3-4 times daily. Not only is this inconvenient, but it means that during certain periods (such as sleep) blood levels of the hormone will be very low. Transdermal delivery effectively leads to a steady release over 12 or more hours, solving both of these problems.
Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of transdermal administration of prohormones when compared to sublingual/nasal administration?
Sublingual (absorption in the mouth, like a lozenge) and nasal delivery is limited by the amount that can be absorbed by the mucous membranes. The maximum amount of hormone that can be delivered is around 25 mg, and blood levels are elevated for 2-3 hours, compared to ~12 for transdermal. Therefore, sublingual and nasal prohormones must be dosed at least 5 times a day to be effective. However, sublingual/nasal delivery delivers 80-90% of the actives to the bloodstream, making it a very efficient carrier. A combination of transdermal application (for steady blood levels) and sublingual/nasal application (to spike blood levels, particularly pre-workout) could be effective.
Q: If I apply a transdermal hormone to a certain muscle group, does it increase strength in that particular muscle group?
Transdermal prohormones are delivered systemically, so applying them to a particular area will not cause disproportionate strength gain in that area. The exception is products that are geared toward local delivery, such as Sytenhance.
Q: Should transdermal prohormones be cycled differently than oral prohormones?
Cycles with transdermal prohormones should be the same length as one would use with oral prohormones, and post-cycle recovery should remain the same. The primary differences are how often you will administer the prohormone (two times daily as opposed to three or four) and the dose used.
Q: What are the dosages for transdermally administered hormones?
First off, it should be noted that the listed dosage and duration on product labels is often conservative. Also, dosage will vary on stacking, level of experience, and many other factors. Here are some general guidelines
1-testosterone: 200-500 mg
19-norandrostenediol: 400-800 mg
4-androstenediol: 400-600 mg
3-alpha androstenediol: 50-150 mg
3-beta androstenediol: 200-500 mg
4-hydroxyandrostenedione (formestane): 50-200 mg
androstenetrione (6-OXO): 150-500 mg
7-OXO-DHEA (7-Keto): 100 mg
Note: Much of the dosage information comes from the prohormone FAQ, by pogue.
Q: What are the differences between the Dermabolics carrier and other carriers?
The Dermabolics carrier is identical to the carrier developed by Avant Labs except it does not contain carbomer, a thickening agent (due to the fact that it is a spray instead of a lotion). For a discussion of the science behind this carrier as well as comparison to some other products, see Battle of the Transdermal Prohormones by Par Deus.
2. Application tips
Q: When, where and how should transdermals be applied?
Transdermals should be applied as close to twelve hours apart as possible. An ideal time to apply is after showering or bathing. Scrubbing with a luffa, wash cloth, or sponge beforehand improves delivery, as does shaving the area of application. Ideal areas of application are those with thin skin, such as wrists, top of feet, upper arms, chest, back, or legs. Larger amounts will require larger application areas. If possible, latex gloves should be worn during application. These can be purchased at most pharmacies. It is also a good idea to shake the bottle before application to mix the ingredients. Spray or pump the lotion onto the hand and then rub into the application area. Afterwards, wash your hands with soap. Five minutes should be allowed for the transdermal to dry after contact with clothes or other objects.
Q: After applying the transdermal, should I wait before working out, showering, or swimming?
Yes. Water can wash off the transdermals making them less effective. You should wait at least half an hour before any of these activities, and ideally 1-2 hours. Also if you shower after application it is best not to scrub the area of application.
Q: Should I avoid contact with other people in the area of application?
Most definitely, especially females and children. This applies primarily if you are using a prohormone or steroid. Contact with the area may result in delivery of active hormone to the person contacted. If you think it will become a problem, it is best to keep the area covered (saran wrap over the area of application will work), or only use areas that will be covered with clothing as application spots. Also, certain application areas (such as the back of the legs) are less likely to be contacted.
Q: My transdermal product is resulting in rash/skin irritation. Is this normal? How do I avoid this?
Some people experience skin irritation or rashes from transdermals, especially those containing certain active ingredients. 1-testosterone is particularly caustic, and latex gloves are a must when applying this substance (even after washing hands thoroughly small amounts can remain that may get in the eyes or other sensitive areas, and it is quite painful). If latex gloves are not available, you can at least use a sandwich bag. The best way to avoid irritation regardless of the source is to rotate the area of application – one day apply to the feet, another to the upper arms, and so on. You can also apply lotion to areas of application not in use.
Q: Can I add more prohormones to a transdermal prohormone product?
Yes, but it will become saturated at a certain point. Also, increasing the concentration may reduce the relative effectiveness. If you want a concentration or blend of ingredients that is not available pre-made it is usually better to make your own using a carrier product such as the transport matrix.
Q: How do I make my own transdermal prohormone?
Simply add the hormone powder to the carrier and then shake. If you accidentally put in too much hormone powder heating lightly and shaking vigorously may help. To heat a solution, boil a pot of water and let it cosl to just below boiling. Place the prohormone bottle in the water for a few minutes, remove, then shake.
Q: I am using the Dermabolics carrier. Can adding DMSO increase the efficacy of my transdermal prohormone?
This carrier is quite effective as it is. In theory, adding 5-10% DMSO may increase absorption. However, one will have to put up with the side effects of DMSO (increased irritation, bad breath, etc).
Q: Can transdermal prohormones be dosed more often than two times daily?
If desired, a smaller dose can be used three times daily (every eight hours), but this does not have a clear benefit.
Q: Is it acceptable to use transdermal prohormones in conjunction with topical fat loss products?
Yes, just avoid applying them both in the same area.
Q: Can transdermal prohormones be used along with oral prohormones?
Yes, although if one is doing an intraday cycle (oral prohormones during the day, transdermal overnight) trying to compare oral and transdermal doses can often be difficult. Stacking one prohormone transdermally and another orally is not uncommon.
Q: What is the shelf life of transdermal prohormones?
This depends on the substance; in general the shelf life is 1-2 years. This can be increased by freezing and/or vacuum sealing. If you are planning on stocking up you are better off buying bulk prohormone powders and then mixing them in a carrier before use.
By David Tolson
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