The Future Cream landed on my personal radar when it won in 2022 Curls Best of Beauty Award in our Clean category. Seeing a high-performance face cream described as “bouncy” caught my attention. It was like seeing a bowl of pasta, which is described as “refreshing” – that didn’t seem likely, but I’d be damned if I didn’t try and see for myself.
According to the brand’s website, Future Cream “replenishes critical moisture for up to 24 hours and helps visibly firm, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and strengthen skin’s moisture barrier.” The formula contains peptides; rice, flax + pea plant proteins; and ceramides. As an avid reader of skincare ingredient lists, I know all about the moisturizing effects of ceramides. However, I was completely clueless as to how peptides work in a moisturizer, so I consulted a couple of dermatologists for clarification.
According to Carmen Castilla MD, a New York-based dermatologist, “Polypeptide-121 is a chemically synthesized part of a naturally occurring protein in skin: the collagen molecule 21.” She noted that not all peptides are created equal and that “the role of a peptide in skin care depends on its molecular size and chemical structure”.
James Y. Wang MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Los Angeles and founder of Metropolis Dermatology, pointed out that the collagen molecule 21 “may help improve overall skin health and fight additional damage to the skin’s barrier.” dr Castilla speculated that because of the size of this particular peptide, it likely reduces transepidermal water loss by acting as a humectant, or a substance that attracts and retains water. “The beauty of peptides in skin care is that because of their similar chemical structure to naturally occurring proteins, they tend to be biocompatible and not cause allergic reactions,” she added.
But what’s really fascinating about peptides is their ability to rule your skin. Let dr. Castilla explain: “Peptides act as messenger molecules; they generally tell the cells what to do.” Different peptides have the power to tell your skin to do different things. In this case, Dr. Castilla found that the “tetrapeptides” in Future Cream stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, noting that “an increase in collagen, elastin, or any other extracellular matrix would improve skin elasticity, fine lines/wrinkles, and hydration. “