RUTH OLTJER: D’DIFFERENCE FOUNDER’S STORY
I loved the career I had as a doctor of internal medicine. But 24-hour shifts inhaling hospital disinfectants inflamed my asthma to the point I could no longer work around existing products. I used the royalties from a book I’d written on asthma to partner with chemists to create disinfectants which didn’t contain harmful ingredients like aldehydes and phenols (the latter known to be carcinogenic). My new disinfectants enabled me to continue to work with patients.
By creating these products I was able to solve my own problem, but it turned out that the problem with toxic disinfectants was widespread. Hospitals, clinics, beauty salons, and even restaurant kitchens, quickly embraced my new products. I even developed disinfectants for Muslim countries, where they were unable to use disinfectants containing alcohol.
Back at work as a physician, my next challenge was to create safer skin lotions for both doctors and the patients we treated. We treated a lot of patients who suffered from bed sores and scaling, and I wanted a product that could prevent these acute problems without doing damage to skin. Those products were so successful that I wondered if I might create something for home use: If I could help sick skin so much, I reasoned, then imagine what I might do for healthy skin!
After several years of testing, D’DIFFERENCE was born. We had created something completely natural, with only active ingredients to leave the skin with a healthy glow. I have always believed that skin can act perfectly on its own if we simply let it, and therefore D’DIFFERENCE products are formulated with minimum ingredients for maximum impact.
It is particularly difficult to get glowing skin in Nordic conditions. The climate constantly changes, and our skin changes accordingly. Smart molecules are the solution here, enabling the delivery of ingredients to the level of the skin each ingredient was designed to treat. If we can make our skin’s protective barrier function well, then we look great at any age.
I am currently active in building a bridge between science and business. As Chairman of the Tartu University Board of Directors, I have undertaken a project to provide business courses to scientists. These courses help scientists more effectively interact with the world of business. I believe science has solutions to many of the world’s problems, but ultimately only scientists are capable of making that case.
Although I am engaged in business, I am first and foremost a doctor. I still practice medicine because helping patients is the most gratifying thing I do. Also, I sometimes find that my most challenging cases provide impetus for new product creation. And everything I learn in medicine I put into the products D’DIFFERENCE creates.