Europe is walking unsmiling down a dark path facing the setback caused by a difficult global economic situation. The complicated time we are going through has paralysed our facial muscles, making us unable to smile. The muscles that make up the structure of the mouth have sagged, showing an appearance of sorrow. Figuratively speaking it almost resembles an aged facial expression. However, during these dark circumstances where beauty can wither, medicine (firstly to restore health as well as the aesthetic branch), needs to make an effort to encourage us to overcome this difficulty and sadness.

These days, advances in light-related therapeutic modalities lead to personalised medicine, which limits treatment time and provides a better control of unwanted reactions. For example, modifying biological processes with light, known as optogenetics and optopharmacology1, present enormous opportunities for new tools in biology and medicine. Transepidermisation of therapeutic drugs with active products will permit a better, very specific action along with no adverse effects. Within pharmacology, DNA repair and dermo-cosmetics will innovate anti-ageing treatments. With the knowledge that DNA is responsible for new cell formation, ingredients for new products are currently designed to protect DNA with specific properties for cell care.

In plastic and dermatology specialties, adipose cells are gaining importance as a source of stem cells for new tissue growth. In this sense, technology and refined surgical techniques will make it possible to obtain fat cells, respecting their integrity and architecture with huge therapeutic potential for fat tissue replacement. The use of stromal-enriched lipograft offers the possibility of fulfilling the principle of replacing body volume, with direct impact on fat atrophy treatment related to ageing.

The future is very promising and should put a smile on our faces to confront these times of pessimism. We now need to make an effort to supply our practice with this positive energy and share our experience and professional expertise. In accordance with this, it is expected that congresses focus more on state-of-the-art techniques and the management of complications. Attendants should receive practical recipes for direct application in their daily clinical practice. In addition, doctors need to keep in mind that to achieve a happy patient it is necessary to accept the reality of his/her problem, and understand treatment limitations in relation to what can be obtained. Therefore, during institutional events, clinical instructions have to be supported by sessions with video demonstrations, live debates, and presentation of controversies. On the other hand, close participation of the industry in developing surgical instrumentation always facilitates medical action. The industry perspective is very promising and will provide new technologies to make treatments safer and better controlled.

Advances in academics and consistent training in aesthetic medicine and surgery is of capital importance, not only to practitioners, but also to educate the public, particularly on the risks of malpractice in cosmetic techniques. It is foreseen that cooperation between international societies and committees for standardisation will become compulsory at some time. In fact, there will be a balance between apparently trivial things learnt at congresses, with the deep knowledge acquired by practicing and interacting with the expertise of colleagues. These are two sides of the same coin, which can be summarised by saying that doctors cannot work alone and need to work together for the exchange of professional expertise and for direct practical and clinical implementation.