Abstract Background Acitretin is the main retinoid used to treat severe inherited ichthyosis. Alternatives may be considered if it results ineffective or there are side-effects, or for women of childbearing age. Our objective is evaluation of the effects and tolerance of alitretinoin. An observational retrospective multicentric study was designed to analyse patients with inherited ichthyosis treated by alitretinoin. Results A total of 13 patients were included, 11 of whom were receiving acitretin at inclusion. The main reason for switching to alitretinoin was a desire for pregnancy, but also because of side-effects or unsatisfactory efficacy. Starting dose was 10 mg/day, increased to 20 or 30 mg/day. Alitretinoin seemed to be more effective than acitretin at reducing erythema, but was less effective at reducing scaling or hyperkeratosis. Global efficacy was considered low for two patients, moderate for nine, and high for two. Treatment was well-tolerated, except for one patient who presented with benign intracranial hypertension leading to discontinuation of treatment. Conclusions Alitretinoin may be suitable for hereditary ichthyosis with prominent erythema, especially for women of childbearing age.