The Essential Serum Q&A with Dr. Jason Rivers


Whether you are a seasoned skincare guru or a newbie, the purpose and proper usage of a serum can be confusing. So we asked Dr. Jason Rivers to enlighten us about this super-charged skincare product! As always, if you have any inquiries please send us an e-mail at

If you are seeking to upgrade your anti-aging skincare regime, a face serum is the one product that should never be left out. You can get away without using a toner or a face mask, but if you want to target those frustrating dark spots or ever-deepening wrinkles faster and more effectively, a serum will be your best friend.

  1. What’s the difference between a serum and a moisturizer?

    A moisturizer keeps the skin moist and supple by providing a protective barrier that helps the skin seal in moisture, and humectants that enhance the skin’s ability to hold moisture. On the other hand, a serum tend to has a lighter consistency but a higher concentration of active ingredients. These active molecules tend to be smaller in serum formulations and can penetrate deeper into your skin. Finally, most serums aren't necessarily hydrating like moisturizers.

  2. If most serums contain a high concentration of “active” ingredients. What are they?

    Active ingredients deliver the benefit in any topical skin care product usually this action refers to correcting the signs of aging. The ingredients used vary based on the serum’s purpose. Anti-aging products might contain vitamins C or E, these vitamins are antioxidants that have been shown to increase the performance of sunscreen, boost collagen production and reduce hyper-pigmentation*. On the other hand, anti-acne products commonly contain “actives” like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.

  3. Why should I add a serum into my skincare routine?

    A serum is a great tool for addressing specific skin concerns. If you know what you would like to address, you can likely find a serum tailored for that purpose. You can certainly see noticeable results with regular use of a well-formulated serum.

  4. I already have fine lines and wrinkles, is it too late for me to start using an anti-aging serum?

    It is never too late to start taking care of your skin. A great anti-aging serum can help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, which includes preventing any existing ones from deepening.

  5. I am in my 20s, is it too early for me to start using anti-aging serums?

    Not at all, there is no harm in using anti-aging products in your 20s and if these products are well suited for your skin type, they won't necessarily make younger skin "break-out". In fact, starting young with any skincare or anti-aging routine may reduce the need for more extensive treatments later on. Just remember, the number one thing you can do to prevent premature aging is wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily.

  6. Is it safe to layer multiple serums together?

    For most people, there is just no need to use multiple serums. It is best to keep your skincare regime simple. More is not always better, especially if you have sensitive skin.

  7. Are there any instances where I should not use a serum?

    The only time you should not use a serum is when you have a sensitivity to any of the ingredients. It is important to read the product’s label before proceeding.

*It is important to mention that when we say "active ingredients" in reference to topical skincare, we're speaking with somewhat of an industry-specific vocabulary. The "actives" in topical anti-aging skincare shouldn't be confused with the "active ingredients" in drugs which provide action on symptoms of a disease or medical ailment and in turn go through a more stringent testing and Health Canada / FDA regulatory process.