My Review: Penetrex Relief Cream (2023) – Scam Or Legit?

My Review: Penetrex Relief Cream (2020) - Scam Or Legit?

It's time to review Penetrex Relief Cream – because it's a really popular pain reliever.

But what lies behind its popularity?

Because in terms of effect – it's not as excellent as it seems:

  • only hides the pain for a few hours
  • doesn't treat the actual cause inside
  • mostly masks the symptoms

So is Penetrex a scam? Is it only meant to take advantage of people with severe pain?

I tried to analyze every single detail on this product – so here's the truth (+ video).

Note: This review is based on my opinion + research on Penetrex.

Review Summary

Full Name: Pain Relief Therapy by Penetrex

Product Type: Pain relieving cream

Best Actual Price: Starting from around $25

Cheapest Place To Buy: Probably Amazon (no official website that sells it)

Designed For: Relieving inflammatory pain.

It claims to work for anything from swollen joints to muscle inflammation.

My Rating: 7 out of 10

Recommended?: Not completely (unless it's combined with a strong supplement):

  • temporary effect (a few hours at most)
  • doesn't treat the real cause on the inside
  • pricey for the quantity

To be honest – I would recommend going for a supplement instead (much better effect for the price).

You can also use Penetrex for short-term relief – but make sure to combine it with a supplement.


What I Liked About It

  • Very light smell and nice consistency
  • When it works, effect appears really fast 
  • Soaks in within minutes
  • Lots of authentic reviews on Amazon
  • Available in different quantities and versions (cream, roll-on)
  • Can be bought internationally


What I Didn't Like About It

  • Not a real pain relieving treatment
  • Doesn't treat the cause inside (only hides the symptoms for a few hours)
  • Effects lasts very little
  • Product must be applied several times a day to keep the effect constant
  • A bit expensive for the quantity
  • Doesn't work in many people



Penetrex In A Nutshell

Currently – it's one of the most popular pain relieving creams (if not the most popular).

However, that's not enough to make it worth the money:

  • mostly a short-term remedy (a few hours)
  • not a proper pain treatment
  • uncomfortable to use (has to be applied very often)

Compared to other creams, it's surely a decent one.

But compared to supplements (that really treat the pain) – it's really far.

So considering its (pretty high) price and short effect – it's not a product I could recommend.

At least not as a #1 choice and not alone.




#1 – What It Is & Claims

I will start by giving you a few general info about this product.

How exactly it works, what it promises, who's the company behind, etc.

1. Claims

According to its description – Penetrex was voted “# 1 best overall muscle rub” in 2019:

  • contains a breakthrough formulation
  • has over 8 years of research behind
  • has millions of clients worldwide

Now – I cannot disagree with the claims it makes.

And if you ask me, Penetrex is indeed better than most pain relieving creams.

Still – since it's a cream, it only works on the outside (and does not treat the actual cause inside).

That's why I personally don't consider a pain relief treatment.

It is a short-term remedy, but it's not a real treatment.

So to me – its claims aren't that impressive.

2. Company Behind

The cream is produced by a brand with the same name – which means 2 things:

  • the company only makes this product
  • it doesn't have any creams/supplements for other health problems

In terms of reputation – the brand doesn't look very bad.

It does have a pretty long history and a positive feedback.

And since it only makes one product – the positive reviews are most likely related to that.

So if you ask me – Penetrex is a really trustworthy and legit company.

From this point of view, you can purchase from them without any worries.



#2 – Formula (7 out of 10)

Just like most creams – Penetrex doesn't have a very detailed ingredient list:

  • active and inactive substances are written together
  • no main ingredient
  • no dosages for any compound

Basically – you can't tell what's the top ingredient from this product (or its quantity).

As I said, that's something specific for topical products.

But even so – it remains a downside for Penetrex, if you ask me.

Now – I tried to separate its active ingredients from its inactive ones.

So let's take a closer look at each.

1. Active Ingredients

Basically – these are the ingredients responsible for Penetrex's effect on pain.

Though there are over 10 different active compounds – most of them have extremely low dosages:

  • this means that most won't have any effect
  • they're only an extra name on the ingredient list
  • however, you can't tell which (since there are no dosages)

Now – out of the active ingredients, here are the ones I consider the most important:

  1. Arnica Montana Flower Extract – this herb has anti-inflammatory proprieties. [1]
  2. Sunflower Seed Oil – moisturizes the painful area (but not on the inside).
  3. Aloe Vera Leaf Extract – improves local swelling. [2]
  4. Boswellia Serrata Oil – can reduce inflammation on the outside.
  5. Peppermint Oil – provides a cooling and numbing sensation. [3]
  6. Camphor – pretty much the same effect as peppermint.
  7. Tea Tree Leaf Oil – relaxes the painful area and increases blood flow. [4]

Other than these, there are 2 ingredients worth mentioning:

  • MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane)
  • Glucosamine

Both are some of the best ingredients for joint pain and cartilage damage.

However – their effect seems to be better when used internally (as pills).

That's why I doubt they have any major effect in Penetrex (since there are no dosages either).

2. Inactive Ingredients

These are mostly compounds designed to:

  • create a nice consistency
  • maintain skin lubrication
  • give the cream a nice scent

They don't have any effect on pain/inflammation – that's why I won't insist on them too much.

But it's worth mentioning that about 50% of Penetrex's ingredients are inactive.


Penetrex doesn't have a bad formula (compared to other creams).

But in my opinion – it's not very good either:

  • you can't tell which are its main ingredients
  • no dosages or quantities

Besides – half of the ingredients listed are inactive.

So in terms of composition – I wouldn't really recommend it, at least not alone.

It does work, but it's only a very short-term remedy (a few hours, at most).

So unless you associate it with a stronger product (like a supplement) – I wouldn't recommend it.



#3 – How To Use It (7 out of 10)

Here I will try to give you more details on the cream's consistency and how exactly you should apply it.

1. Smell & Texture

Penetrex looks pretty good from this point of view:

  • no detectable smell
  • only a very light (fresh) scent
  • no one can't feel you're using the cream

When it comes to its consistency – it's pretty regular.

It has a white color and a gel-like texture (which makes it soak in faster than most creams).

Also – it doesn't burn or sting when it's applied (which is a real advantage).

2. Schedule

Just like most creams – Penetrex doesn't offer very clear directions:

  1. Label explains the method to use when applying the cream.
  2. You should apply it on the painful spot and massage.
  3. The product should soak in completely in a few minutes.

However, there's one thing it doesn't mention: how often you can use it.

Since the effect isn't going to last more than a few hours – I assume you can apply the product whenever needed.

Still – applying it several times a day to keep the effect constant isn't very comfortable.

That's why I'm not a fan of this cream.



#4 – Results (8 out of 10)

Penetrex is one of the most reviewed pain relieving products from Amazon.

It's true that it has mixed reviews – which is totally normal.

But you can find a lot of info from previous users (both positive and negative).

Note: I only analyzed authentic customer reviews, not promotional ones.

1. Positive Opinions

On Amazon – Penetrex has 4.2 stars out of 5, which is a pretty good number.

It means the product itself works (especially since most people are using it for minor issues and short-term relief).

Now – here's what most satisfied users say about Penetrex:

  1. Some claim it really keeps the pain under control.
  2. Others say that as long as you apply it several times a day, it works.
  3. A few mention it works for both joint and muscle relief.
  4. Certain users swear by it.

Basically – I found enough reviews of people who were satisfied with this cream.

However, most of them admitted it was only a short-term remedy (effect disappears after a few hours).

But as you might expect – I found lots of complaints about it as well.

2. Negative Opinions

Surprisingly or not – there are so many unsatisfied customers:

  1. Some say the cream doesn't relieve their pain at all.
  2. Others claim it worked a bit at first, but it stopped working afterwards.
  3. A few others state it only decreases the pain very little bit.
  4. Many complain that it's expensive for the quantity.
  5. Lots of people claim you have to apply it up to 6-7 times/day (to maintain the effect).

Overall, I found a lot more complaints than I actually believed.

Besides – many of those users agreed that Penetrex is only a secondary product.

Since it only works for a few hours, it should be combined with something stronger (like supplements).

That's why I don't recommend using this cream as a main treatment either.


Penetrex has mixed reviews on Amazon.

But despite the positive ones, I found a lot more complaints than I expected.

Most people state that the product isn't an actual remedy – just a few hours relief.

Considering its price, I couldn't possibly recommend Penetrex (at least not as a #1 pick).

I personally recommend a supplement instead – because it has a much stronger effect on the long term.

Whether you combine it with Penetrex or not, it's up to you.

But my biggest advice is to go for a supplement as a #1 choice.




 #5 – Side Effects (9 out of 10)

Penetrex is quite safe from this point of view.

Just like most creams – it doesn't cause systemic side effects (only local ones at most).

Now, I found very few complaints about its side effects:

  • most people said it didn't irritate the skin
  • a few complained about itching
  • I also found a negative review about a rash appeared after applying the cream

To be honest – any cream can cause rashes but in a very low per cent (some under 1%).

So Penetrex does have this risk as well.

But out of 100 people, less than 1% will experience any itching/rashes.

That's why I wouldn't worry too much about this.

If the cream really was dangerous – it would have way more complaints on this.



#6 – Price (7 out of 10)

For the quantity it has, Penetrex isn't necessarily cheap.

It's surely not the priciest cream I cam across – but if you ask me, it could be a few dollars cheaper.

1. The Exact Price

First of all – Penetrex comes in several sizes:

  1. 2 oz bottle that costs around $25 normally.
  2. 4 oz bottle that costs around $35.
  3. 3 oz roll-on that costs about $25.

However – since they're all sold on Amazon, they often have discounts.

Besides, you can also find these 3 sizes combined in different packs.

Obviously – the larger the pack, the better the price.

But still, for the quantity it contains – Penetrex is a bit pricey.

I'm not saying it's very expensive (compared to other creams).

But considering its popularity, I think it should be a few dollars cheaper.

Since its effect only lasts for a few hours – I'm not sure it's worth the money.

2. Competitors' Price

I won't compare Penetrex with another cream (because creams are not a proper treatment for joint pain).

Instead – I will compare it with my #1 recommended joint product.

I'm talking about a supplement called Joint Support + from Nuzena:

  1. Penetrex has a local effect that lasts a few hours (at most).
  2. Nuzena has a durable effect that doesn't go away even if you quit the pills.
  3. Penetrex costs between $25-$35 per bottle.
  4. Nuzena costs $30 per bottle (monthly supply).
  5. If you use a coupon code I offer, it costs $20/bottle.
  6. Plus, you can get it for about $15/bottle (when buying a larger pack).

Now – out of these 2, I would strongly recommend going for Nuzena.

It's the best joint supplement in terms of quality/price.

However – you can surely combine it with Penetrex.

So until Nuzena's product starts working (it's going to take a while), you can use Penetrex to keep your pain under control.


Penetrex is quite pricey for its actual value, if you ask me.

Considering that its effect only lasts for a few hours – it's not a product I would recommend.

Not alone, at least.

That's why I strongly suggest you to go for a supplement instead (if you want a real relief).

You can combine it with Penetrex as well (since they work through different mechanism).

But when it comes to using Penetrex alone – I wouldn't recommend that.




#7 – Availability (10 out of 10)

Penetrex is one of those creams that is really easy to find (both online and in real life).

Maybe that's because of its popularity – but it's available easily:

  1. Most popular seller is Amazon.
  2. You can also find it on Ebay/Walmart.
  3. As far as I know, it's also available in other retailers.
  4. Most likely, you can get it from local drugs stores as well.

However – I'm quite sure that its best price is on Amazon.

That's why it's the retailer I pretty much recommend.

Besides – as I mentioned before, you can get a lower price if you buy different packs.

If $25/bottle is too much for you, that option might be better.



#8 – Penetrex In 3 Conclusions

Here's how I would sum up my opinion on Penetrex.

1. Local & Short Effect

That's the best way to summarize Penetrex's potency:

  • doesn't treat the actual cause of pain
  • mostly improves the local symptoms
  • works only on the outside

That's why the effect only lasts for a few hours – because the cause isn't treated at all.

In this way, once the numbing effect goes away – the pain returns as strong as before.

2. May Work Or Not

Though I personally had a pretty good opinion on this cream, it's not really so (apparently).

Its Amazon reviews are quite mixed up.

And even though more than 60% are positive – there are enough complaints as well.

For this reason:

  • product works really well for some
  • in others, it only works in the first weeks
  • for many others, it has absolutely no effect

That's why you should keep this in mind before making any purchase.

3. Pricey For Its Value

In my opinion – Penetrex could be a few dollars cheaper:

  • quantity is small for the price
  • effect isn't durable
  • not an actual joint treatment

Now – this cream is surely a good relieving solution for the short term.

But precisely for this reason, I believe it should cost a bit less.



#9 – My Video Review



My Verdict – Worth Or Not?

Short answer: Yes and No.

Normally – it's not a pain relief product I would recommend:

  1. Effect is very short and doesn't appear in everyone.
  2. Product needs to be applied several times a day.
  3. Doesn't treat the actual cause behind the pain.
  4. Only hides the symptoms for a few hours.
  5. Not effective in everyone (enough complaints).
  6. A bit expensive for its real value.

However, I would recommend Penetrex in certain cases.

And by this I mean – if it's combined with a stronger product (like a supplement).

Supplements have a much better effect (in terms of intensity and strength):

  • work on the inside
  • treat and fix the real cause behind the pain
  • effect lasts a lot more
  • better quality/price ratio

The only downside is that supplements need at least a few weeks to start working.

So if you need a fast relief in the meantime, Penetrex can really help.

However – the cream doesn't have a long term effect (so you will have to use it constantly).

That's why using a supplement as your #1 product is much better.

best joint


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Written by 

Oltea Roman is a registered pharmacist with a long experience in the health field. She graduated from University of Medicine and Pharmacy and has studies in Cosmetology, Dermatology, Toxicology and several others. She has a 2 years experience as a retail pharmacist. You can connect with her via Linkedin or email.

Last updated: January 6, 2023

4 thoughts on “My Review: Penetrex Relief Cream (2023) – Scam Or Legit?

  1. I can not tell you how happy I am i have found this. I have arthritis and someone recommended this cream. I was surprised by how much it helped me so I stopped taking other pills I would take before. But this time, Penetrex didn’t seem to help as much and the pain would get back within minutes. Now I can understand why, it’s only a temporary relief. Then I started taking the drugs again but the relief wasn’t as good as before. I should say that I only used Penetrex (without the drugs) for almost half a year. Are there any chances that my arthritis worsened in this time? And maybe this is why the drugs can’t reduce it completely anymore…

    1. Hi Mike, thanks for sharing your experience with Penetrex. Since this product is a cream, it mostly hides the symptoms for a short while. When you were also combining it with drugs, it was totally fine, because they controlled the pain from the inside. But once you stopped taking the drugs, your body was only counting on Penetrex. So that’s when you could see what this cream alone can do. It was pretty disappointing, but that’s the effect of most creams.

      That’s why taking an internal product is essential. Now, you say you only used Penetrex for your arthritis for about half a year. If you ask me, your arthritis surely worsened in the meantime. That’s because Penetrex only worked on the outside – it didn’t help the joints in any form. So this may be the reason why your drugs don’t keep the pain under control as well as before.

      Now, what can you do about it? First of all, I recommend visiting your doctor and letting him know about this problem. He will probably prescribe you some other pills or increase the dosage for the current ones. Additionally, you can also try a supplement – because their effect is often more powerful, compared to prescription pills.

      This guide on improving your arthritis pain naturally can also help. But make sure to see a doctor in the nearby future, as he is the only one that can prescribe you the best treatment.

  2. My rheumatologist recommended Penetrex together with several prescription drugs he gave me for OA. But he kept telling me not to give up the drugs even if I start getting stomach pain and headaches. He said some of his patients stopped taking the drugs because they were making them feel sick and they only used the cream. The felt better at the moment but when they came for the second visit, their joints were deteriorated a lot. All because they used only the cream. So it surely helps with the pain but it doesn’t treat it! That’s what drugs and supplements are for!

    1. Hey Don, thanks for your feedback on Penetrex. I’m really happy you mentioned these stories your doctor told you, because they’re definitely true. That’s what I’m trying to let my readers know as well. 

      Penetrex and any topical product only hide the symptoms on the short term. You have to apply them again in a few hours if you want a constant relief. But they don’t do anything on the inside – that’s why the joints and cartilages remain untreated, so they deteriorate (mostly if they’re already damaged).

      That’s why I don’t recommend using topical products alone in arthritis. They are indeed a great solution for a fast relief, but they must be combined with an oral treatment. That’s what actually treats arthritis.

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