When a friend of mine told me that she'd been getting her monthly facials at a place called Dermalounge (formerly Nourish Skin Care Center), which offers a medley of technologically advanced skincare treatments on top of the signature facial, I was intrigued. Her description of Dermalounge sure sounded like a medical spa, but Carrie only had positive things to say about the aestheticians and caliber of customer service -- and her dewy, non-porous complexion made me rethink my prejudice forthwith.

According to CEO Nicole Alvino, who partnered with the former owners of Nourish to expand the center's treatments, Dermalounge combines the rigorous skincare education approach of medical spas with the tranquil environment of the day spa. The result: a modest Noe Valley fixture with a passel of loyal clients and an unbeatable reputation for making visages glow. -- Nirmala Nataraj