Lady Brags Interview: Dr. Lily Talakoub, founder of Derm to Door

Lady Brags Interview: Dr. Lily Talakoub, founder of Derm to Door

meet dr. lily talakoub, founder of derm to door

We love working with and learning from women's health and skin experts, making today's guest, Dr. Lily Talakoub, particularly thrilling. As a board-certified dermatologist and a fellow of the American Board of Dermatology, Dr. Lily knows skin. Spoiler alert: she also intimately knows intimate skin. We are impressed. Dr. Lily has received multiple awards in the fields of surgery and dermatology. She is an expert in diagnosing and treating all adult and pediatric skin disorders, skin cancer surgery, and cosmetic dermatology. Dr. Lily brings the perfect alchemy of expertise and passion to everything she does.

On top of it all, Dr. Talakoub founded Derm To Door, a customized online skin care experience where getting expert advice has never been more effortless! Lady Suite is among the carefully curated offerings at Derm to Door, and we are SO grateful that Dr. Lily Talakoub is a champion of intimate skin care + wellness. Get to know Dr. Lily Talakoub with us!

Let's start out with a lady brag! Tell us the 3 things you love to brag about the most? 


    1. I can out-ski anyone! Before I went into medicine I was a competitive downhill racer. 
    2. My five-year-old daughter can rattle off the different layers of the skin
    3. I started a business from scratch with no background or experience and now employ 30 amazing talented women


What inspired your path toward being a board-certified Dermatologist and the founder of Derm-to-Door?


I love skincare and understanding the ingredients, chemistry,  and how everything reacts with the skin. I noticed that most of my patients did not know how to care for their skin or use products correctly. I think everyone deserves to feel confident in their own skin. 

We know you are a champion of better intimate care. Why are you, as a doctor,  determined to normalize skincare down there?


The issue is, nobody talks about intimate care. Many of my patients say their gynecologist doesn’t know about intimate care or talk to them about intimate wellness.  Intimate care is skincare, it's part of our body.  I believe there shouldn’t be a taboo surrounding it, we have to learn about it and take care of it. 

During your schooling, did you feel like you were taught about vulvas and the nuances of vulva skin? Or is this something you’ve learned along the way?


Definitely not. When I did my Derm training I remember having maybe one lecture on it. About 90% of dermatologists don't even look at the vulva skin as part of a skin exam! I had to learn through talking to women and listening to their concerns.

About 15 years ago I researched how hormones affect lubrication and female sexual function.  At that time, all the existing research was about male sexual dysfunction,  and libidio. There were limited studies around women. We did research on how estrogen and androgen decrease as you get older. The less hormones you have, the drier the skin around and on your vulva becomes. 20 years have passed, and I still feel like there is still a lack of research around intimate female wellness. We talk more about oral health than we talk about intimate health, and I think that needs to be changed. 

How is vulva skin different from the skin on the rest of our body?


The skin is different in thickness which means it can break down faster.  Rubbing the vulva can make it irritated. Products can cause allergic reactions because the skin is thinner and has less oil glands to protect it. The Vulva has a mucosal lining, just like the inner lip which means that products and irritants penetrate faster than on regular skin.  

The vulva skin also has hormone receptors. As you age and lose estrogen, you also lose hydration, lubrication, and elasticity. 

What are the factors that make some women more susceptible to vulva skin struggles (like ingrown hairs, razor bumps, dryness, and irritation?)


Dryness is the biggest factor. Dryness causes the area to become more susceptible to irritants. This makes the vulva more sensitive to products, clothing, and even intercourse. Dryness can be genetic, due to medications, and lack or decreasing amount  of estrogen. 

Ingrown hairs and razor bumps usually occur around the bikini or thigh area, since the skin is thicker and prone to razor bumps and ingrown hairs. 

What do you think the biggest misconception is about vulva skin and vulva skincare?


The misconception that there's nothing out there to treat it. Our culture has not defined a category of things to look for in respect to intimate care. 

We know that vulva skin is the most sensitive skin on a woman’s body. How can we make this skin more resilient and healthy?


My top tip would be to minimize overwashing, especially with harsh cleansers. Then, improve moisturization with an oil or lubricant. If the vulvar skin is sensitive or dry, decrease shaving and waxing the area. 

Probiotics can help because if you deplete the area of its natural bacteria with either an antiseptic or antibiotics, the normal bacteria that helps maintain the integrity of the skin also disappears!

Why don’t most gynecologists understand vulva skin?


Most of their training is focused on the female reproductive tract, what's inside. I think the true issue is, why aren't there more dermatologists talking about vulvar skin. 

Do you think there are different vulvar “skin types”?


Definitely, similar to facial skin types. There are dry, sensitive, normal, and oily. 

I know this might be personal. But have you ever experienced vulva skin issues or insecurities whether it be past or present?


I haven't yet, but I'm sure I will in the future. The vaginal area ages just like the face ages, and I’m getting older.   

Are the women you meet in your dermatology practice becoming more comfortable in sharing their intimate skin struggles? 


Yes, we talk about and educate, and as a result we receive more questions every day. 

We are beyond excited to be part of your brand portfolio on Derm to Door. What has it been like building that business? 


We are so excited to have you be a part of Derm to Door! Building the business has been an exciting and scary journey at the same time.

What is your favorite business tip(s)/words of wisdom for other women founders? 

You have to fail. If you haven't failed you haven't learned. 

As a board-certified dermatologist, what are your desert island skincare picks? 


I can’t live without SPF, I would bring the tinted SkinKure SPF 50 and an Avene Compact which is a sunscreen in compact form.  I would also pick Bioderma micellar water and the Skinkure Retinol which transforms discoloration, fine lines, and wrinkles. 

What’s next?! What can people expect to see next from you personally, and from Derm to Door? 


We have so many things coming up! We are launching teledermatology at the end of the year! Look out for prescriptions and dermatology visits all at the tap of your fingertips!

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