The neuropeptides vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), substance P and somatostatin were studied in skin biopsies from patients with eczema, psoriasis and axillary hyperhidrosis. VIP concentrations were elevated in skin affected by eczema and psoriasis, whereas substance P and somatostatin levels did not differ from controls. There was a higher concentration of VIP, but not of substance P or somatostatin, in normal axillary skin when compared to adjacent trunk skin, with abundant VIP-containing fibres surrounding eccrine sweat glands. The VIP concentration was unchanged in skin affected by axillary hyperhidrosis. VIP may increase local blood flow in eczema and psoriasis, but does not appear to play a role in axillary hyperhidrosis.