These are gels, lotions, and creams that have Vitamin A and other medicines in them. Even though the current studies are not foolproof, there is some evidence that these may in fact reduce wrinkles somewhat.
One of the issues with topical retinoids is the fact that they may cause redness, dryness, itching, and a burning or tingling sensation.
This means that despite the wrinkles being slightly reduced, you may end up walking around with significant red blemishes on your skin. This in combination with the overall cost is one of the reasons that many people do not consider this a complete solution to the problem.