Q&A with Kate the Chemist

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend the Olay Body Labs pop-up event, where I got the chance to meet, Dr. Kate Biberdorf, A.K.A., Kate the Chemist, who, in addition to being a chemist, is also a published author, science entertainer, and professor at The University of Texas.

At Olay Body Labs, Kate utilized an engaging, theatrical approach to making us understand the science behind Olay’s newest body wash and lotion featuring hyaluronic acid and vitamin B3.

Beauty News NYC got the skinny from Kate herself on the chemistry behind dry skin, skincare, her partnership with Olay, and more!

Kate the Chemist Q&AWhat is the chemistry behind dry skin and how can it affect us throughout the year? 

Dry skin often starts due to environmental changes like changes in temperature or humidity. Winter dry skin comes from low humidity and being in and out of cold and heat, but most people don’t realize you can get dry skin in the summer too. Going from outside heat to inside air conditioning and certain activities like swimming in a chlorinated pool can dry out your skin.

The chemistry behind dry skin is related to the natural moisturizing molecules that are part of the skin barrier. If you have a well-hydrated skin barrier, those natural moisturizers are in place, your skin is more resilient and better able to manage environmental changes.  When your skin barrier is not well-hydrated, it can feel tight or itchy. When we feel that is when we tend to do something about it, but we really should ensure we have a strong skin barrier all year round.

The moisturizers in Olay’s Hyaluronic Body Wash and Hyaluronic Body Lotion absorb quickly so there’s no coated feeling which makes it a good choice for year-round use. They’re made with petrolatum, the #1 dermatologist-recommended moisturizing ingredient, and Vitamin B3 Complex, which combines niacinamide and pro-glycerin. The moisturizers penetrate ten surface layers deep hydrating to strengthen the skin barrier.

What specifically weakens the skin barrier? And what are some ways to maintain a healthy and resilient skin barrier? 

This goes back to being aware of certain environmental changes that can trigger the loss of moisture and weaken the skin barrier. To proactively maintain a healthy and resilient skin barrier, be choosy in the products you use on your body and make sure to use quality products that have science behind them.

You know all body care products are not created equal. Sometimes you use a moisturizing body wash but don’t really see the benefit. That’s because the moisturizers are probably going down the drain instead of penetrating the skin’s surface.

That’s one of the reasons I was excited to partner with Olay. One of their scientists walked me through the data showing how Olay’s Hyaluronic Body Care Regimen hydrates the skin transforming it from dry and dull to hydrated and healthy-looking in just a couple of weeks.

We’d love to hear about the origins of your partnership with Olay. Also, would you mind going into the science behind Olay’s hyaluronic body care regimen and how it effectively nourishes and hydrates the skin? 

My partnership with Olay was very natural. I wrote a book called, “It’s Elemental: The Hidden Chemistry in Everything” where I talk about the science behind the busiest day of your life– all the way from breakfast down to date night at the end of the day. There is an entire chapter on getting ready in which I talk about the science of shampoo, conditioner, body care products, and more. So when Olay reached out and had actual science with quality research behind their products it was a very easy yes for me. This is such a natural partnership and I’m so excited to join Olay in helping people understand that science is everywhere and how important this is when choosing body care products.

On the science behind the regimen– The body wash has molecules that help with cleansing and then there are molecules that help with moisturizing. Then the lotion is packed with moisturizers. What’s really cool about the Olay Hyaluronic Body Care Regimen is its prestige skincare ingredients– which I like to call the triple threat (hyaluronic acid, petrolatum, and Vitamin B3 complex) – they come together to penetrate the skin ten surface layers deep grabbing water molecules, forming bonds with them and then locking them in place. All that hydration helps nourish and strengthen the skin barrier.

How do the ingredients in Olay Body’s supercharged hydration regimen work together to provide long-lasting hydration? 

Think of the skin barrier as a leaky bucket– we’re constantly trying to fill it with moisturizers but stressors like changes in humidity, travel on airplanes and even swimming in a pool can strip the skin of moisture and contribute to leaks. To get long-lasting hydration, you have to fix the holes in the bucket.

To fix the holes in the bucket, the body care products you use should be made with moisturizers that penetrate the skin’s surface and lock in moisture. That’s what Olay’s Hyaluronic Body Care Regimen does. If you use it consistently, you won’t have to worry about dry skin this summer because you’ll be actively helping your skin barrier stay healthy and hydrated.

Order your own Olay Cleansing & Nourishing Body Wash with Vitamin B3 and Hyaluronic Acid HERE.

Order your own Olay Nourishing & Hydrating Body Lotion with Vitamin B3 and Hyaluronic Acid HERE.

Learn more about Kate the Chemist!

Gemma Lolos

Social Media Manager + Staff Writer

Gemma Lolos is a fiercely proud native New Yorker who is devoted to the arts in all its many forms. She loves to sing and listen to music, read great literature, experience inspiring theatre and film, and stream addictive television. She works full-time as a Marketing professional in New York City and does freelance writing on the side. In her free time, Gemma tries to immerse herself in the NYC Arts scene as much as possible, eat great food, and travel whenever she is able.