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Get the Inside Scoop to the Beauty Industry

Written By: Kari Volyn

Ever wonder what it takes to be a top plastic surgeon or dermatologist in San Diego? These winners from our latest beauty polls talk all things career, success stories and why they love America’s Finest City.


Dr. Jeffrey Umansky, Umansky Surgery

Q: How did you decide to specialize in plastic surgery?

Jeffrey Umansky: I grew up going to the hospital as a little kid with my father when he visited his patients. He was one of only seven plastic surgeons in San Diego at the time and I loved hearing about the impact he had on people’s lives. The draw to plastic surgery must have been genetic, as both my brother and I followed in his footsteps!

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment so far in your career?

JU: There is no one accomplishment, but rather knowing my years of education and training make a real difference. I have a collection of thank you notes in my office that I have held onto over the years. They serve as a constant reminder of how much a treatment can increase one’s self-esteem and enjoyment of life.Giving back has always been important to me. I take pride in being able to volunteer my time and surgical expertise to help children with congenital and traumatic deformities. In my endeavors, I have performed hundreds of free surgeries on patients from all over the world. I feel honored and humbled to be involved in the efforts of several charitable organizations that facilitate this kind of service. They include Mercy Outreach Surgical Team and Fresh Start Surgical Gifts.

Q: What energizes you about your practice?

JU: Every day I walk into the office, it is a new adventure. Currently, we are expanding our laser and medical spa center and this will provide patients comprehensive care for all their aesthetic needs. We are bringing on highly skilled nurse practitioners and physician assistants to cater to our injectable filler and Botox patient community. The field of plastic surgery is always evolving and that really keeps me motivated and on my toes.

Q: What do you think will be the next big thing in the field of plastic surgery?

JU: As technology advances, I think we will get to the point that tissue will be grown in the lab that can match the exact needs of the patient without worry of tissue rejection. This will allow us more control over our outcomes and really advance the field.

4150 Regents Park Row
La Jolla, CA 92037


Barbara Martin, M.D., Skin Surgery Medical Group, Inc.

Q: How did you decide to specialize in dermatology?

Barbara Martin: I decided to specialize in dermatology because I am visually oriented.  I often make a diagnosis by the appearance of a growth or rash, and also by the microscopic findings when I have performed a biopsy. I can’t imagine practicing dermatology without also reading my own pathology slides. It is so interesting to see the correlation.  Dermatology is also a specialty in which you see all ages and genders.  And there are so many types of skin issues—from skin cancers, clues to internal disease, cosmetic concerns, and many opportunities to help people with their self-esteem.

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment so far in your career?

BM: My proudest accomplishment has to be when I have saved lives by diagnosing melanoma in an early stage.  How can you top that?  Also, rescuing teens from the devastating effects of severe acne, which is also potentially life-saving.

Q: What energizes you about your practice?

BM: I am energized by the connections I make with my patients, especially when you get to know them over years, and their family members come to see you.  Before you know it, you are treating their offspring! I feel it is such a compliment that people come to see me for advice and treatment. I never take that for granted and do everything I can to provide them with the answers and solutions they are looking for.

Q: What do you think will be the next big thing in your practice/the field of plastic surgery?

BM: Longer-lasting Botox! That actually may happen soon. But seriously, I think the pharmaceutical industry is changing the landscape with better and better treatments for acne, eczema, psoriasis, hair loss, melanoma and many other common and often severe skin problems for patients.

5222 Balboa Ave, Floor 6
San Diego, CA 92117

Melanie D. Palm, MD, MBA, Art of Skin

Q: How did you decide to specialize in dermatology?

Melanie D. Palm: Even at a young age, I have always been inquisitive, with an affinity for medicine and the sciences. As an inherently visual person, I felt immediately drawn to dermatology, especially being able to combine my love for art, harmony and balance in the field of cosmetic dermatology.

Q: What energizes you about your practice?

MP: The art of cosmetic dermatology allows me to weave together my love of art with my passion for medicine. I truly enjoy helping my patients look amazing through every stage of life, ensuring their inner being is reflected in their outer being. I love that I have the opportunity to live and serve the wonderful people of the San Diego community. It is a privilege to build meaningful and lasting relationships with my patients.

437 S Hwy 101, Ste 217
Solana Beach, CA 92075


Dr. Paul Chasan, Ranch & Coast Plastic Surgery

Q: How did you end up in San Diego county?

Paul Chasan: I grew up in Southern California; I was educated here and then I found a life in San Diego. I hated the traffic in LA, and San Diego was where I wanted to live. I ride my bike to work; it’s a lifestyle thing. I love the weather and the vibe. It’s much more relaxed than LA. I found a home here.

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment so far in your career?

PC: Two things: The first is a case where a woman came in after breast cancer for reconstruction surgery. She had multiple infections resulting in her implant eroding out of her chest. She had gnarled skin attached to her rib cage—and this was a beautiful lady. We did four surgeries, a staged reconstruction, the outcome was out of the park; she looked like she came in for cosmetic surgery. She’s beautiful and living life like she should be. It’s so rewarding when you can change someone’s life.

The second was building my surgical facility in Del Mar. After being in practice in a medical office building on a hospital campus for 15 years, I always felt that the patient experience wasn’t awesome. Seven years I made the decision to build out a freestanding office in downtown Del Mar. I wanted to give my patients a great experience when they came to my office. They can park right outside.  Starbucks is next door. I wanted it to be convenient and low stress for them. I also wanted to be able to keep my patients overnight. But it was a force of will. I had to work with the Del Mar city council, learn about development, deal with ADA issues, architects, builders, bankers, and lawyers and do a lot of that before surgery, after surgery and between cases. But it was worth it because we have one of the best facilities in the country.

Q: What do you think will be the next big thing in your practice/the field of plastic surgery?

PC: The work with stem cells is exciting.  Also, temporary weight loss balloons and plasma technology. Using new technology to help my patients get their best result is really exciting.

1431 Camino Del Mar
Del Mar, CA 92014


Dr. John Alexander II M.D., J.D., F.A.C.S., Alexander Cosmetic Surgery

Q: How did you decide to specialize in plastic surgery?

John Alexander II: I decided to become a plastic surgeon when I was about 10 years old. I was the oldest son of a prominent San Diego plastic surgeon. I shared many of my father’s characteristics and was always intrigued and proud of his profession from an early age. 

 Q: What is your proudest accomplishment so far in your career?

JA: There is no singular event that comes to mind. What makes me most proud is how consistent we have become in providing our patients with great results. I take pride in my work, and we are always striving to meet or exceed patient expectations by improving our skill and patient care.

Q: What energizes you about your practice?

JA: My team. We have a fantastic group of individuals who are committed to being the best. They give me the energy and motivation to keep working hard.

Q: What do you think will be the next big thing in your practice/the field of plastic surgery?

JA: We are in the process of building a new facility, which we believe will be the premiere plastic surgery, medspa, and anti-aging clinic in Southern California. Can’t wait!

9339 Genesee Ave, Ste P39
San Diego, CA 92121

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