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The Difference Between Serums and Oils

The Difference Between Serums and Oils

If there is one thing we know for sure, serums and facial oils cause confusion among the masses when it comes to knowing what they are and applying them in your skincare routine.

We are here to give you the DL on how to use them, when to use them, and if you even if you should use them.

If you still have questions after, you're always welcome to email us for a personalized consultation.

What are Serums?

Face serums are, thin, watery like liquids with highly concentrated actives that have a smaller and more penetrable molecule allowing it to penetrate deeper in to the skin.

The higher percentage of actives that are targeted towards specific skincare concerns. Think of Vitamin C and dark spots.

What are facial oils?

Oils are just that. A combination of thicker emollients with a larger molecules that keep the skin barrier healthy. Often times facial oils are used as a replacement for water based moisturizers or added as additional protection after your moisturizer.

Moisturizers are formulated with a blend of water, oils, and actives to provide both hydration and moisture.

Which one do I use?

Virtually every skin type will benefit from a water-based serum. There are plenty but our go-to favourites are Vital C 20 Vitamin C Serum and our 3D Dew Drops. Vital C 20 delivers a potent blend of active antioxidants to brighten the skin, calm redness and help acne scarring.

The multi-weight dew drops is an uber-hydrating serum that packs a punch in the hydration game.

Oily skin, dry skin and anyone with any skin issues will benefit from both of these.

When it comes to using a facial oil, those with dry skin benefit the most. Facial oils help to curb trans-epidermal water loss.

With vitamin rich oils like rose-hip, camellia, wheat germ and many more, facial oils help repair sore irritated skin like eczema or even severe dryness. Our two non-comedogenic facial oils are the Miracle Oil and the Radiant Hydrating Face Oil.

Face oils help regulate sebum production provide much needed moisture by locking it in. Think of a raincoat over a sweater. Facial oils help tame the skins natural oil production and leads to a healthier complexion.

When to apply facial serum and facial oil?

Serums are most effective when used correctly so knowing when and where to apply them is key to getting the most of these. “Serums are extremely concentrated nutrients, hydrators, and antioxidants that really amp up your skin health as soon as you apply them,” says Dr. Gohara. “People often skip out on using them, but they’re honestly the heavy lifters of your skincare routine.” Basically, think of toners like a sip of beer and serums like a straight shot of tequila.

Vitamin C should be used daily in the morning. It's works best when it it builds to a level that is effective long term. 

For almost all skin types, Dr. Gohara (and every other derm in existence) swears by using vitamin C serum every morning, which protects your skin from the inflammation and damage caused by environmental damage during the day while also brightening dark spots and uneven tones over time. Vitamin C serum is the MVP for dry, oily, and acne-prone skin, but it’s also a little strong. So if your skin is sensitive, use it every other morning (or every two mornings) instead.

3D Dew Drops can be used morning and night. It's a major boost of hydration for your skin which keeps it looking hydrated all day. 

Ativo Skincare's Face oils are occlusive, meaning they seal in all the ingredients and moisture you just applied to your face to keep them from evaporating as quickly,” says Dr. Idriss. On their own, oils actually don’t moisturize your skin that well, but when you layer them over products, they help increase your routine’s efficacy while also leaving skin soft and smooth. Just make sure to always, always apply your oils last. Yes, you read that correctly: last.

“Oils can easily penetrate moisturizers, serums, and treatments, but no products can penetrate an oil, which means they need to be applied last,” says Dr. Gohara. And don’t think that oils are just for dry skin—certain oils, like rose-hip and jojoba, can decrease excess oil in acne-prone skin, while marula and aloe oils can soothe sensitive, easily irritated skin.



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