How A Dermatologist Who Sees 50 Patients a Day Finds Time for Family, Yoga, and The Occasional Ski Outing

Photo by Shenoa Emig.

On a good day, dermatologist Lily Talakoub is in bed by midnight. The mother of two young daughters and a son runs McLean Dermatology and Skincare Center, where she sees around 50 patients a day and manages 17 employees. The 41-year-old is also on the board at Children’s National; is an associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University; and has written more than 100 articles on dermatology. Despite a buzzing schedule, she still finds time to fit in yoga, tennis, and family ski trips. Here’s how she gets it all done.

Mornings in my house are the busiest time. I get up at 5 AM to try to get all of my emails and notes done before my kids wake up. At 6 AM, I get them up and ready for school and am in the office by 7 AM.

When I go home, I’m with my kids solely. I turn my phone off and I’m with them until they go to sleep. Eight o’clock, I’m back at the computer on my notes from the 50 patients I’ve seen that day.

When I opened in 2009, I had nothing. I went and bought a cell phone from Staples. I printed cards from Kinkos. I knocked on every doctor’s office in McLean and asked if I could use their space.

I had an eight-month-old at the time and didn’t know anyone. I went to Clemyjontri Park every day and met moms there. I gave them cards.

A mentor one time said to me: “Either be a mom or be a business owner, you pick.” And to this day, the power of moms is what got me into this business. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without moms.

When I first started my practice, I was in high-heeled shoes and a pencil skirt every dayAfter five years of getting bunion surgery, one day I was like, that’s it. I’m putting on scrubs and my clogs.

I find that staying fit means being active even when there are only small chunks of time. In the clinic, I track over 8,000 steps a day.

My life changed when I started to see more and more patients with skin diseases from leading unhealthy lives. I started doing intense research on the history of how 100 years ago, food was medicine. I looked into different skin conditions and discovered ways in which I could cure lifelong skin problems with diet alone.

I eat a lot of eggs. I boil 24 eggs on Sunday. I eat one in the morning with salt and pepper.

Because I’m so busy, I feel that I have to have sports come to me. We built a gym in our house. I also built a tennis wall, an indoor half-court.

I am no stranger to competitive sports. I played tennis in college and was also on the ski racing team and a competitive swimmer. In the winters, I ski at least 20 days a year.

To create more zen in my hectic life, I’ve taught my kids yoga, which my daughters practice with me twice a week. Healthy, strong bodies start early. 

Habit is everything. We teach our kids eating habits, exercise habits; we are their role models and they model after us. I hope they have a love of sports as much as I do.

Kim Olsen

Kim Olsen ([email protected]) is a freelance writer in Alexandria.