Going Green Gorgeously


In 2011 I moved from the island of Oahu, Hawaii to my home state of Iowa. It was quite a shock to my system and my skin took the worst of it. I began breaking out irregularly along my jawline so my primary care physician prescribed the antibiotic Doxycycline. As if my immune system hadn't been through enough, this dosage kicked it over the edge.
The drug made me photosensitive, heat sensitive, and synthetic product sensitive. I had a list twelve pages long of items that I was now allergic to, including the color blue! I was in shock and disgruntled to say the least, until my mother-in-law gave me a book called Gorgeously Green by Sophie Uliano, and I read what I could do with my new dilemma. 

I learned that my options were not only vast, but healthier for me. I had no idea all of the ingredients I had been putting in my system. I had not been a person who read ingredients on labels, but with my new sensitivities it was imperitive that I become one. 

Because of my skin sensitivity, I began with all of the products I put on it. The Environmental Working Group suggests that consumers be on high alert for the following seven ingredients.

1. Coal Tar, a carcinogen, used in dandruff shampoos and anti-itch creams, as well as coal tar-based dyes such as FD&C Blue 1 and FD&C Green 3 used in toothpastes and mouthwash. 

2. Fragrance, a term used to mask hundreds of ingredients that disrupt the endocrine system and can cause reproductive and developmental harm.   

3. Hydroquinone, a neurotoxin and allergenic found in skin lighteners and facial moisturizers.

4. Aluminum, a carinogenic, toxic and mutagenic often used in eye shadow and deodorant.

5. Triclosan, used in almost all antibacterial products, often contaminated with dioxins which are highly carcinogenic.

6. P-Phenylenediamine, listed as 1,4-Bensenediamine; p-Phenyldiamine and 4-Phenylenediamine, this chemical can damage your nervous system causing lung irritation and sever allergic reactions. 

7. Lead, a neurotoxin appearing as lead acetate or a contaminant of hydrated silica. And Mercury disguising itself as Thimerosol. 

These seven are red-listed and deemed highly carcinogenic by the EWG. This is a short list compared to the fifteen orange alert ingredients which can contain carcinogenic chemicals called nitrosamines.

I found a red Sharpie and began highlighting ingredients on the Red Alert list and then an orange Sharpie for the Orange List. I was appalled and a bit overwhelmed to find so many carcinogenic ingredients in so many of my products. I threw them away immediately. I knew my system could not handle the contamination and believe it or not, I began to feel better! And the safe, natural options have been as effective as the carcinogenic options.

"The problem lies in our lack of understanding about the sources of our everyday necessities."

Developing more knowledge and awareness of my applications and surroundings opened a much needed flood gate. This saved my life though and I've never felt more alive.

Gambei does not allow any of these ingredients in our products. Everything in the shop is safe for mamas, children, cancer patients and immunosensitive individuals. 

If you're looking for more information please check out the references below or stop into Gambei and check out our copy of Gorgeously Green and other books helpful to beauty and wellness. We're happy to discuss our experiences and share any information necessary to your health and wellness! 

Cheers and Aloha,


Gambei Spa & Wellness
1016 Lomas Blvd NW
Albuquerque, NM 87102
(505) 255 - 2555


1. www.ewg.org

2. www.safecosmetics.org

3. Uliano, Sophie. (2008). Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life. HarperCollins. pages 20-28.