Why Is Sammy Sosa Turning White? Former Cubs Slugger Makes No Secret Of His Skin Bleaching Regimen

Why is Sammy Sosa apparently turning white?

The former Chicago Cubs slugger turned heads with a recent appearance in which he showed off skin that looked almost entirely white, a sharp contrast to the darker skin seen during his playing days. Sosa's complexion had been gradually lightening for close to a decade, looking lighter with his subsequent public appearances, but this week's interview with ESPN Deportes at this week's Home Run Derby made Sosa look almost unrecognizable.

Many commented on the stark change in appearance and what could be behind it, and Newsweek noted the real answer -- skin bleaching.

Sosa first showed off his lighter skin at an appearance in 2009, and was very open about the reason behind it. Sosa noted that he had been using a skin cream before going to bed each night that softened his skin but also left it a shade lighter.

Sosa said that the bright lights of his public appearances make the change look more pronounced than it really is, and noted that he has no problem with his appearance.

"What happened was that I had been using the cream for a long time and that, combined with the bright TV lights, made my face look whiter than it really is. I don't think I look like Michael Jackson," Sosa said at the time (via ESPN).

Why Is Sammy Sosa Turning White? Former Cubs Slugger Makes No Secret Of His Skin Bleaching Regimen
[Image Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for IWC]

As Newsweek noted, a number of other celebrities have been suspected of using bleaching creams to create a lighter complexion, including Michael Jackson and his sister La Toya. While the topic can be somewhat taboo in the United States -- which Sosa touched on by his claims that he is not racist in using bleaching cream -- it is very popular in other countries. Skin bleaching is prevalent in West and South Africa, and the government in Ghana even banned lightening creams after rampant advertising campaigns helping women achieve "perfect white" skin. The skin bleaching industry is even larger in Asia, where it generates $13 billion a year, the report noted.

Sammy Sosa could actually end up cashing in on his much lighter complexion. According to Hollywood Life, the attention Sosa has gotten from his appearance has led to new interest among Dancing With The Stars producers, who had already been trying to get him on the show.

[Featured Image by Romain Maurice/Getty Images for InList]