How excited should we be about No7’s Future Renew ‘peptides breakthrough’?

My quest to discover how to age well started five years ago, aged 45. As a journalist I soon found myself with more questions than answers and so a mission, and a YouTube channel, was born.

In this weekly column, first published in the Sunday Post newspaper, I’ll be distilling what I’ve learned into hopefully some practical advice that will help you skip over the marketing blurb and develop skincare and wellness routines that genuinely make a difference.

Most recently the skincare buzz has been around the launch of the Boots-owned No7 Future Renew range.

With each new No7 launch there is the inevitable promotional fanfare – but behind the noise there is actually some impressive science.

With this new range, No7 claim to have made a cosmetic breakthrough by developing a peptide blend that can repair the skin and reverse damage – that damage essentially being due to sun damage and ageing more generally.

The Future Renew Damage Reversal range launched as part of a four-piece collection comprising a day cream, night cream, serum and eye serum priced from £24.95 – considerably less than some of the other peptide-based products that stand up to scientific scrutiny.

What’s new about Future Renew?

The products include a combination of two peptides – short chains of amino acids described as the building blocks of proteins because they are capable of sending signals to them, affecting how they function.

And what is particularly clever about the peptides used in No7’s new range is that they are synthetic copies of ones that already exist in our skin and which (like so many things) diminish with age.

Mike Sherratt, professor of biochemistry at the University of Manchester, who worked in partnership with the science team at No7 to identify and recreate the peptides, explained: “We know that when proteins are damaged, they can liberate what are little fragments that are called peptides, and those peptides can be detected by cells and cause cells to behave in a different way.

“So we wondered if cells can detect these peptides, and we knew that some peptides were used successfully in other cosmetic preparations, can we predict and make some new peptides that have the desired effects that signal to the cells and cause the cells to start to repair skin?”

Photographer John Nguyen/JNVisuals 13/03/2023

Mike Bell, head of science research for No7, added: “We know these peptides exist in other tissues, where they act as alarm signals basically. So the cells see this damage, these alarm signals, and they kind of go, goodness, there’s damage happening and I’d better make some more protein, I’d better make some more collagen or some more of these fibrin elastic strings and help repair it.”

He explained the resulting peptides are “a way to harness that natural self-repair process by putting back into the skin what’s naturally produced as part of the damage pathway.”

I’m a believer in the power of peptides because I have seen the transformative effects of other brands I’ve trialled, including one which used peptides derived from the discarded umbilical cord of red deer which caused my dad’s hair to grow back at the age of 78.

Effective peptide-based products have traditionally been expensive so it’s encouraging to see a more affordable range hitting shelves.

This week’s product pick

No7 Future Renew Damage Reversal Serum, £34.95 for 25ml on the No7 website.

The serum is the hero product in the Future Renew range due to the concentration of peptides alongside ingredients like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C. If I was buying one product from the range it would be this. Find it here on Amazon

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