Cosmetic powerhouse L'Oreal faced a media backlash when it was accused of digitally 'whitening' Beyoncé's skin tone for a range of print ads back in 2008, but now the singer is at the centre of another 'lightening' scandal after a promotional picture for her latest album surfaced showing her looking usually pale.

The 30-year-old African American singer has unwittingly sparked controversy with the release of the promo shot for her new album, '4' taken before the she fell pregnant with her daughter last year.

Celebrity watchers are now claiming that the wife of rapper Jay Z has been given the same 'lightening' treatment that she got from those infamous L'Oreal advertisements.

In the alluring new image, sexy Beyoncé poses in a blonde wig wearing a skimpy black crochet monokini.

This is not the first time that the pop diva, who was born and raised in Texas by her African father and mixed-race mother, has been accused of cosmetically altering her complexion.

Rumours have been circulating for years that the singer has been bleaching her skin since the days of Destiny's Child to maintain the honey-toned complexion that she is so famous for.

With some commentators going as far as to suggest that images of the superstar singer could be detrimental to the confidence of darker-skinned black girls and make them feel ashamed of how their looks.

There is no denying that there still remains some bias towards the fairer skinned women in the music industry but could this episode simply be a case of overdone studio-lighting and excessive airbrushing or has Beyoncé's skin really been given the 'lightening' treatment?

Have a look for yourselves and let us know what you think...