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How Do Hormone Creams Work

You don't have to know how hormone creams work for them to be effective. But it doesn't hurt.

Besides, if you’re using a cream hormone supplement, or considering using one, wouldn’t you like to know how the magic happens? So let’s take a quick look behind the curtain of this impressive Hormone Replacement delivery system.

Normal Hormone Distribution

To understand how hormone creams work, it’s critical to know how your own naturally produced hormones behave in the body.

Hormones are chemicals that interact with individual cells, telling them what they need to do, like tiny little orchestra conductors.

That’s a good thing too, because literally trillions of cells comprise our bodies. At proper levels, our hormones efficiently direct the healthy cooperation of our smallest individual components.

Hormones are produced by the endocrine system (a series of glands and organs at various locations throughout the body). So how does a hormone produced in a gland in our brains reach a cell in our foot? It travels in the blood.

Think of your cells as the people in a large community. The glands of the endocrine system are community headquarters, constantly generating orders for the people. Our circulatory system acts like UPS, delivering all the orders where they need to go.

So when a hormone needs supplementing, how does a cream accomplish the task?

Getting Under Your Skin

The skin actually absorbs the hormones found in supplement creams. Because the skin absorbs these hormones, they are allowed to pass into the bloodstream where they are sent out to the tissues of the body.

Getting hormones into the blood is the true goal of hormone supplementation creams. Once the hormones are present in the blood, they can have the same impact as if they had been produced in the endocrine system.

Access to the blood dictates that hormone creams often be applied to areas where skin is thinner, or blood vessels are near to the surface (such as the wrists or chest).

Check out our article "Progesterone: The Forgotten Hormone" to learn more about this important hormone.

Cream Versus Oral Supplements

Oral Hormone supplements still dominate the hormone supplement landscape, and they can certainly be effective.

But one of the downsides of oral hormone delivery is that the hormones often have to go through more steps in order to be introduced to the cells that they impact.

For instance, many oral hormone products have to be processed through the lymphatic system. Some oral hormones must bind to proteins or be micronized in order for the body to absorb them.

Ironically, hormone creams actually have a more direct pathway to cells than ingested supplements.

The Vaginal Dryness Question

So what’s the benefit of knowing how these creams work?

One clear benefit is a better understanding of how vaginal dryness (as well as estrogen-related skin health in general) can be treated without direct topical application.

Click here to learn more about menopause and our solutions to help you thrive!

For women who list vaginal dryness among their menopausal symptoms, there is a common belief that internal application of cream estrogen supplements is necessary for symptom relief. But because the supplemented estrogen is distributed to all cells through the blood, internal application is not always necessary for relief of vaginal dryness.

Application to the external tissues (vulva) is sometimes advisable, but it’s important to follow the directions provided for your cream. 

No matter what path or products you choose for your hormonal health, make sure you fully understand how the work, and what you can expect. Hormone supplement creams provide a great option, especially for bioidentical hormone delivery. We hope that you can now use them as needed with confidence.

9 Responses

Betty Garlock

Betty Garlock

September 19, 2019

I’m new to Smoky Mountain, so I haven’t read up on all your products and what they can be used for. I’d like to know more about the DIM you spoke of to Eti in the comment section above. Is this product a cream that is suitable for a vaginal lubricant during intercourse? Please shoot me an email about it. Thanks, Betty

Smoky Mountain Nutrition

Smoky Mountain Nutrition

December 19, 2018

Hey Marilyn,
Many women apply Estro-life to the vulva (external) to increase the impact to local tissue, and that is something that we recommend when vaginal atrophy/dryness is an issue. That application should be a part of a rotation though, so we wouldn’t apply there more than twice a week, in order to keep that area from losing any of it’s ability to absorb the supplement fully. We do not recommend internal application.



December 18, 2018

I’ve been using the Estriol cream for a while now but am still experiencing vaginal atrophy. Can I use the cream internally?

Smoky Mountain Naturals

Smoky Mountain Naturals

July 24, 2018

Hey Eti,
DIM is an all-natural compound from cruciferous vegetables the promotes the body’s natural metabolism of excess estrogen, and DIM itself does not contain any hormones. The hormone creams on the other hand (Estro-Life and Progesto-Life) do contain hormones. Estro-Life contains bio-identical estriol (a mild variation of estrogen) and Progesto-Life contains bio-identical progesterone. We hope that helps, but if you still have questions, please feel free to shoot us an email at



July 22, 2018

I anderstod that your product doesn’t contain actual hormones. But it is incorage the body to produce it’s own. I porches DIM and Progesto-life. Is there any hormones in them?
Thanks so much

Smoky Mountain Naturals

Smoky Mountain Naturals

May 15, 2018

So sorry you didn’t get the instructions insert that is supposed to accompany cream orders. There are detailed application instructions on the product pages here on the site. Just scroll to the bottom of the page and click the box “Recommended Usage”. You can also email us at and we will send you those instructions!



May 13, 2018

I purchased your cream for vaginal dryness and it came with no instructions. How much and how often am I supposed to apply this cream?

Smoky Mountain Naturals

Smoky Mountain Naturals

March 22, 2018

You’re welcome! Questions that involve prescriptions do need to be addressed to the prescribing doctor for safety and ethical reasons. It does look like Estrace uses a plant-based estrogen. The big difference between that prescription appears to be the form of estrogen being supplemented. Our product supplements estriol, while that prescription supplements estradiol. You will want to consult your doctor for the best advice about using them in conjunction.



March 21, 2018

Thank you for the helpful article. Previously I was prescribed Estrace, which I am still using. Should I use both the internal prescription cream and the new external-application estrogen cream I got from smokey mountain?

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