( ENSPIRE Health & Wellness ) Dr. Katarzyna Tesmer Bridges the Worlds of Intensive Care and Aesthetic Medicine To Change the Course of Skincare
ENSPIRE Contributor: Abby Ladner
Photographer: Jeff Cortez
Over 30 years ago, Dr. Katarzyna Tesmer came to the United States from Poland fleeing political persecution. Now, she is an award-winning aesthetic medicine specialist and a board-certified neonatologist, as well as the owner of one of the nation’s most reputable skincare clinics. With Visage Laser & Skin Care Center, based in Anaheim, Calif., Dr. Tesmer combines her experience in aesthetic medicine and intensive care to push the field of aesthetic medicine forward.
She brings her talents in medicine to many areas, serving as a senior partner at Children’s Hospital of Orange County, medical director for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Orange County Global Medical Center, and secretary of Children’s Medical Care Foundation. Read the interview below to learn more about Dr. Katarzyna Tesmer’s story of perseverance and determination.
Could you tell me more about your background and how you came to the United States?
I was born in Warsaw, the capital of Poland. Both of my parents were doctors. Hence, my inspiration in becoming a doctor myself. While in Medical school, I was involved in Solidarity. This was a movement to abolish socialism and Russian involvement in my country. During this turbulent period, and my participation in this movement, I knew I would have very limited career opportunities. After the nuclear accident with Russia, my husband and I made up our minds to leave the country. We had two small kids at the time, a 2- and 3-year-old.
We arranged a safe escape from Poland as political refugees. We spent six months in Italy. We applied and were granted our visas to come to America on January 9th, 1987. We escaped Poland, so we didn’t have much with us, as it would have been suspicious to take a great deal of belongings. All we had were our diplomas, and nothing more. The airlines lost our luggage, so we, literally, came to America with nothing, except for our hope for a better life. I am still quite in awe at what we’ve accomplished individually and as a family since we came here. And, to think, this was 33 years ago.
How did you start your career in neonatology?
I became a doctor in 1982. I had to pass all of my board exams again [in America], which I did. I did my residency in pediatrics at White Memorial Medical Center followed by my fellowship in neonatology at USC. I started my practice at Children’s Hospital of Orange County, where I now serve as the senior partner. I love what I do. It brings me great satisfaction to provide care to these precious little newborn babies.
What made you branch into aesthetic medicine and skincare?
After experiencing life under communism, my greatest desire, aside from pursuing a career as a doctor, was to become an entrepreneur and business owner. As a physician, I like to see instant results; when babies aren’t breathing, I intubate them, and when babies have low blood pressure, I give the medication to correct their low blood pressure. So, it was no surprise when I was shown what lasers can do, I immediately fell in love with the instant results of this cutting-edge technology. Hence, why I developed the Visage Laser & Skin Care Clinic.
Could you tell me more about your Visage Laser & Skin Care clinic?
The business was already established for about two years before I took over ownership and operations in January of 2004. I took classes from the best of the best in the skincare industry. My mentors are the internationally renowned Dr. Eliot Battle Jr. and Dr. Mauricio de Maio. I have combined my intensive care background to create what I call “intensive skincare.” If I can save a failing heart of a baby, surely I can save your skin. My goal is to give my clients the optimum results with the treatments they receive from me with minimum to no downtime.
What makes your work different than that of other cosmetic or aesthetic centers?
I have received excellent training from the best of the best in the industry. We participate and attend many conferences in medical aesthetics. Even now, we have at least one to two Zoom conferences on different cosmetic topics every week. We are constantly learning and applying the advancements in the treatments we provide. Not to mention, I have invested in the best equipment for my clients.
Short story: I had a patient I was performing injections on, on a scar from a dog bite, and she looked in the mirror and said, “Dr. Tesmer, you are an artist!” And I said, “Hallelujah, this is what I should be doing!” I may not be able to draw a straight line, but I certainly am an artist of the face.
We have certainly made a name for our office. There’s a website called Orange County HI that contacted me and I was mighty surprised when I was asked to be put on their site as one of the top five laser centers in Orange County. My question to them was, “Do you understand I am not a dermatologist or plastic surgeon?” And they said, “Dr. Tesmer, no one has as many five-star reviews as you do, so you must be doing something right.”
Are there any moments from your career that stand out to you? Anything that has felt particularly rewarding?
I remember I had a 34-year-old lady [as a patient] and she couldn’t find a partner, as she was looking for one. It was a Saturday afternoon, and I had given her lip injections. She then put on a beautiful red lipstick and went to a bar. And guess what? She met a man there and they married! To this very day, she tells me that it was my lip injections!
I had another lady who came to me around the end of August, and she was going to meet her ex-husband for Thanksgiving. She was referred by another client, so it was easy to convince her to do laser instead of Botox and fillers. I worked on her with lasers, and you will not believe it; she looked fifteen years younger! She was so happy. The best part of the story is, a few years later, this brunette walks into my office, and I honestly did not recognize her.
I was showing her pictures from our before & after portfolio of the patient I had right before Thanksgiving and she goes, “Oh that’s me!” I looked at her and said, “Weren’t you divorced?” And she says, “Oh yes, I reconnected with my ex-husband, and we re-married!” Isn’t that amazing? I absolutely love these testimonies! We all have the desire to look and feel our very best, and I’m here to help you put your best face forward.
What do you hope people learn from your story?
The American Dream is possible for all of us. Work hard. Do everything in integrity. Surround yourself with a group of positive and hard-working people. Nothing that’s truly worth it comes easy; it DOES take time. But don’t give up! Leave a legacy of good.