The ex-Cubs slugger, who originally had a medium-to-dark skin tone, was said to be sporting a completely new complexion — white. Sosa was previously thought to have a skin condition that caused this drastic change in his face pigmentation. The former athlete's "new face" was first spotted in the 2009 Latin Grammys in Las Vegas when Sosa showed up to the awards show with a lighter visage. The dramatic change in pigmentation had baseball fans, sports commentators, dermatologists, and cultural analysts wonder what could have been the cause of the skin condition, says Time. But it turns out it was all cosmetic.
According to the Associated Press (AP), Sosa said he is not trying to look like the late pop star Michael Jackson and is not suffering from any skin illness. He stated instead that his skin color was due to a longtime use of a cosmetic "skin cream," in combination with bright TV lights make his face appear whiter than it actually is.
"It's a bleaching cream that I apply before going to bed and whitens my skin some," said the ex-Cubs slugger in a 2009 interview with "Primer Impacto," a program of the Univision Spanish Network. "It's a cream that I have, that I use to soften [my skin], but has bleached me some. I'm not a racist, I live my life happily."