Now that you know the difference, why is this important?
The cuticle (dead skin) can prevent proper adhesion of polish and enhancements, so it is removed before any service. Improper removal, or removal with un-sanitized tools can cause a plethora of problems for your nails. Another common mistake is nipping away the eponychium in order to create a healthier looking nail. This just causes the eponychium to become harder and more unmanagable each time it grows back, and it becomes more and more unruly and creates hangnails and all sorts of issues. Always make sure your technician sanitizes her tools, and is not removing any of your living eponychium.
“During a properly performed manicure or pedicure, the eponychium is softened, moisturized and then very gently pushed back to expose the dead cuticle tissue on the nail plate for easier removal.” – Doug Schoon
If you have dry eponychium, or constantly get hang nails, I would highly recommend daily use of cuticle oil. Dadi Oil form Famous Names is my all time favorite. It smells great, and penetrates the nail bed and eponychium quickly leaving a non-greasy feel. If you would like some, I can get it for you, just email me. Another favorite is O.P.I.’s Avoplex Cuticle Oil to go. I would recommend using either of these several times a day, and if you’re consistent, I guarantee you will see a difference.
Schoon, Doug. "Where Is The Cuticle." Professional Beauty Magazine July 2007: n. pag. Schoon Scientific. Web. 5 July 2012. <http://www.schoonscientific.com/resources-publications-technical-articles.html>.