Ad description

An ad for Helen Taylor Aesthetic and Wellness Clinic, seen in the November 2022 edition of The Rugby Register magazine. Text stated “THE BIOHACKING WELLNESS CLINIC” and underneath that “Reversing Ageing, Extending Lifespan”.

At the bottom of the ad further text stated “Specialising in: Oxygen therapy, Skin rejuvenation, Laser hair removal, Body firming, Permanent Cosmetics, Aesthetic Injectables, Fat freezing, Infrared Sauna”.


The complainant challenged whether the claim “Reversing Ageing, Extending Lifespan” was misleading and could be substantiated.


Helen Taylor Aesthetics Ltd said that the term “Reversing Ageing” within the claim referred to “biological” ageing rather than “chronological” ageing. They highlighted that the concept of reverse ageing had been accepted by the scientific community since the understanding of epigenetic clocks [a biochemical test used to calculate biological age]. They explained that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) was an important tool in being able to reverse one’s biological age.

Helen Taylor Aesthetics also referred to a definition of life expectancy as defined by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). They said that life expectancy was a statistical measure of the average time someone was expected to live. They also referred to two statements from the ONS which stated “life expectancy has increased in the UK over the last 40 years” and “lower incidences of cancer, heart disease and strokes through behavioural and lifestyle changes as well as technology can lead to a longer life expectancy”. As such, they argued that it was well established that life expectancy could be increased in humans.

Helen Taylor Aesthetics asserted that there were a number of clinical studies which substantiated the claim “Reversing Ageing, Extending Lifespan”. They supplied six scientific studies, consisting of three uncontrolled clinical trials and three randomised control trials, as well as a review paper.



The ad featured the claim “Reversing Ageing, Extending Lifespan” in relation to a “biohacking wellness clinic”. The ASA understood that ageing was a process caused by cellular damage over time which resulted in a number of different physiological changes in individuals. We considered that the claim “Reversing Ageing” was ambiguous as to whether it referred to cellular damage itself or certain physiological changes brought about by the ageing process. However, within the context of the ad as a whole and the full claim “Reversing Ageing, Extending Lifespan”, we considered that consumers would understand the claim to mean that if they underwent “biohacking” treatments at the clinic, the process of ageing would be reduced to such an extent that they would be able to live a longer and healthier life.

Whilst it was not clear from the ad which treatment the claim referred to, we understood that the ad listed a range of aesthetic treatments, as well as oxygen therapy. We further noted that, in their response, Helen Taylor Aesthetic considered HBOT was able to help reverse an individual’s biological age, and as such, provided evidence which they considered demonstrated that. We had not previously seen evidence that HBOT had health benefits or could prevent or treat illness or disease. For that reason, in order to substantiate the claims, we would need to see a substantive body of evidence, in the form of randomised controlled trials on humans, to demonstrate that was the case.

We then assessed the evidence provided to us. We noted that one of the studies was an uncontrolled clinical trial of ten individuals that examined the effect of injecting a growth hormone on the thymus gland. Because that was not a treatment offered by the Helen Taylor Aesthetics clinic, we considered the study was not relevant to the claims in the ad.

The remaining evidence provided by Helen Taylor Aesthetics related to HBOT. We first assessed the remaining two uncontrolled clinical trials. The first study assessed the effects of HBOT on skin samples from 13 male patients and the second study investigated the impact of HBOT on blood cells in 30 patients. We noted the small sample size of both studies, which we considered were too small for results to be extrapolated to the wider population. We also noted that in the first study, skin samples were not scored clinically and that in the second study a considerable number of samples were excluded due to low quality samples. We considered the two studies did not represent robust clinical randomised controlled trials which we expected an advertiser to hold in order to substantiate such claims. Because we were concerned about the reliability of the conclusions of the studies, we did not consider them sufficient to demonstrate the claims in the ad.

Next, we examined the review paper which assessed the impact of HBOT on mitochondrial function in cells. We noted that the majority of studies which were included in the review had carried out studies on mice or rats, which we did not consider sufficient to demonstrate the effect of treatment on humans. We also noted that a variety of protocols were reviewed as part of the study; for example, we noted a difference in pressure, time in the HBOT chamber, and the number of treatments received. Because the treatments reviewed were not uniform, we considered that a number of variables could have resulted in different conclusions on the effects of HBOT. Furthermore, we considered that increased mitochondrial function in cells would not necessarily result in a longer lifespan, and as such considered that the review paper was not sufficient to substantiate the claim in the ad.

The remaining evidence provided by Helen Taylor Aesthetics were randomised clinical trials which evaluated the impact of HBOT on cognitive function. The first of those studies was a randomised controlled trial which examined the impact of HBOT on mice that demonstrated characteristics of Alzheimer’s, which again we did not consider sufficient to demonstrate the effects on humans. Whilst we acknowledged that the paper also referred to a pilot study conducted on six individuals with Alzheimer’s, we did not consider patients with Alzheimer’s were representative of consumers likely to undergo treatment at the Helen Taylor clinic, nor did we consider a trial conducted on six patients was sufficient to demonstrate efficacy of treatment.

The second study assessed memory performance in young individuals undergoing HBOT. The study assessed 56 patients; 27 of whom received the treatment, the remainder having received a sham treatment. We noted that all patients had been recruited from the same Facebook group and were likely to form a homogenous sample which we considered would not be representative of the general population. We also noted that, whilst episodic memory of individuals appeared to improve during the treatment, the effects were only measured whilst individuals were undergoing HBOT. Because the effect of treatment on patients’ memory was not measured after treatment had taken place, we considered that there was no certainty around the duration of the effect and the study was unable to substantiate the claim in the ad.

The third study was a randomised controlled trial of 63 healthy older adults. Their performance was assessed during a range of cognitive tasks after undergoing 60 sessions of HBOT over a period of three months. Similarly, we acknowledged that the trial demonstrated certain improvements in cognitive function whilst undergoing treatment, but the study did not measure cognitive performance in long-term follow ups, which we considered was insufficient to demonstrate that individuals would be able to live a longer and healthier life as implied by the ad. Furthermore, whilst the study was controlled, we noted that participants were not blinded to their treatment. The control group did not receive a sham intervention, but instead they did not receive any treatment.. It was therefore uncertain whether any improvements were a result of a placebo effect. We also considered that patients underwent a considerable number of HBOT sessions in the study, which would likely not correspond with consumer perception of necessary treatment length. As such, we considered that the study was not appropriate to demonstrate the effect of treatment likely received by patients at the Helen Taylor Aesthetics clinic.

Furthermore, we were not provided with any details about the HBOT protocol administered at the Helen Taylor Aesthetic and therefore the treatments examined in the studies did not necessarily reflect the available treatment. In any case, we considered that decreased cognitive function was only one physiological change caused by ageing and that improving cognitive function would not necessarily result in individuals living a longer or healthier life. As such, we considered that those studies were unable to substantiate the claim in the ad.

In light of the above, we concluded that the claims, as consumers were likely to understand them, namely that undergoing biohacking treatments at the clinic would result in living a longer and healthier life, had not been substantiated and were therefore misleading.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 12.1 (Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products).


The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Helen Taylor Aesthetics Ltd not to make the claim “Reversing Ageing, Extending Lifespan” in the absence of adequate substantiation.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

3.1     3.7     12.1    

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