Alitretinoin is a new drug for systemic treatment of chronic hand eczema. Previous functional tests of skin topically treated with retinoids have indicated impaired skin barrier function, but no data are available on barrier parameters after systemic alitretinoin treatment. To investigate the effect of systemic alitretinoin on skin barrier function and response to irritants, a secondary objective was to determine if changes occur in the lipid profile of stratum corneum after treatment with systemic alitretinoin. We conducted an open clinical intervention study on eight people ascribed to systemic alitretinoin treatment. The criteria for being ascribed to alitretinoin were chronic hand eczema and insufficient therapeutic response to potent topical corticosteroids. Before initiation and after 2 months of systemic treatment with 30 mg alitretinoin, a challenge with sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) was performed on the volar forearm and evaluated by trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL), erythema, and a cyanoacrylate skin sample was obtained for lipid analysis. We found no significant changes in response to SLS irritation as evaluated by TEWL and erythema, after treatment with alitretinoin for 2 months. No significant changes in stratum corneum lipids were found after 2 months of treatment. In conclusion, systemic alitretinoin does not influence skin susceptibility to irritants or the ceramide profile of stratum corneum.