Sammy Sosa says a cosmetic cream he uses to soften his skin is the reason for his lighter skin tone.

The former Chicago Cubs slugger was photographed at the Latin Grammy awards in Las Vegas last week with a noticeably whiter face.

Sosa says he has been using the cream for a long time, and combined with bright TV lights, it made his face look whiter than it really is. Sosa says he is not trying to look like late pop star Michael Jackson and is not suffering from any skin illness.

Sosa made his remarks on the Univision Spanish network. He declined to identify the cream.

Sosa, who turns 41 on Thursday, hit 609 homers over 18 seasons in the majors with the Cubs, White Sox, Rangers and Orioles. He hasn't appeared in a big league game since 2007.