Birthmarks of the better half.

Marky Mark's non-prosthetic organ



Two views of Wahlberg's fashion accessory

Star of critically acclaimed film, actor/rapper "Marky" Mark Wahlberg is not shy on-screen. While the appearance of a prosthetic appendage in the movie "Boogie Nights" raised controversy, here is the real appendage that is only whispered about. This small lesion just below his normal nipple, is an extra or accessory nipple. Present from birth, these often are found in the same vertical line as normal nipples. Both men and women have them and can sometimes have them on both sides.

Mena's mark


 American bombshell Mena Suvari has more than just a beauty mark on her face. She also has this brown lesion on her right trunk. Though this may be a mole, its appearance and location are also consistent with an extra nipple.


For centuries, the presence of extra nipples was thought to indicate witchiness, and women were tortured and killed because of them. The Blair witch was described as hairy, but no mention was made of a nip in the air. If you or your friends have an extra nipple, don't panic! There is no medical reason for their removal, though this procedure can be safely performed for cosmetic reasons.

     Who spilled the Port wine?

      Tina Turner truly qualifies as a pop music legend. The ultimate survivor, she has also managed to conceal a prominent port wine stain (PWS) birthmark despite revealing outfits and plenty of sweat. What's love got to do with it? Nothing really. These birthmarks are usually a cosmetic issue and do not otherwise impair activity. And there is nobody more active than Diva Tina!

    While Tina Turner works the dance floor, Mikhail Gorbachev parties in diplomatic circles as the former leader of the Soviet Union. Yet both share distinctive port wine stain lesions. While President, Gorby's mark was often erased in Soviet photos and newspapers. PWS are actually patches of superficial dilated blood vessels. They are treatable with lasers, though they may take several treatments to clear.


      Rocker Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins also has a PWS affecting his left arm and hand. Note the purple-red hue. If he had been lesion-free, would he have been gentler to pumpkins and other gourds? Would he still have shaved his head to emulate a jack o'lantern? We may never know.



    When blood flow is increased through a port wine stain, such as when Corgan rocks out, it appears more red. Go, Billy, go!

    PWS is also part of a condition cumbersomely called Klippel-Trenauney syndrome (KTS). Patients have an arm or leg PWS with disabling overgrowth of the limb. Pro golfer Casey Martin famously campaigned to use a golf cart to overcome this significant ambulatory problem. The case went to the US Supreme Court and he won the right to play in pro tournaments despite his disability. There was a significant ruckus that this allowance would be detrimental to the sport of Pro golf.

    Roles with big moles

      Richard "John Boy" Thomas

      has a large cheek mole.

      Chloe "Indie extrovert" Sevigny has a mole
      in a more discreet location.
      Who would have thought that these two actors, "The Walton's" John-Boy and indie princess Chloe Sevigny would have anything in common. Yet remains a great unifier: both have large birthmark moles. Thomas' is on his cheek. Sevigny's on a location usually hidden from the sun. And, no, this lesion is neither in the correct location nor appearance to qualify as an extra nipple. For many years, it has been thought that all birthmark moles were a great risk to convert to melanoma skin cancer. Recent research suggests that only very large lesions (several inches or centimeters) show that increased risk. Any mole that changes shape, size, or color deserves a check by a physician. And these two thespians just need to compare their current lesions with the way the moles look on DVD.

    Actress Pam Gidley may not be a major star, but she's made her mark.
    Long before Starbucks began its goal of global coffee bean domination, some Francophile physician felt obliged to name this flat, tan birthmark after his favorite beverage, the Cafe Au Lait. While that doc's name is lost to history, actress Pam Gidley's fame is assured, at at least. One of the millions of ingenues who never quite made entertainment news, Gidley has maintained a consistent B-movie career. Case in point, this image from the forgotten flick "Freefall." Her health shall neither fall nor fail from her birthmark, which while being a bit blotchy, is not the type to turn cancerous.

Richard Gere's birthmark in action


 Richard Gere with Debra Winger in "An Officer and a Gentleman."

With Valerie Kaprisky from "Breathless."
And with Lolita Davidovich in "Intersection."
International film sensation Richard Gere first gained acclaim as a beefcake actor skilled at gritty realism. Through the years, he has maintained a career as a romantic leading man. Because of his characters' many love scenes, his films incidentally showcase a prominent pigmented patch on his left upper back. The appearance and location of this lesion are consistent with a Becker's nevus.

Nevus is a medical term for either a pigmented lesion (such as a mole), or for a birthmark. A Becker's nevus is usually seen in men on the upper back or chest. It is a tan to brown flat patch with studded with dark hairs. Though considered a birthmark, it commonly appears during puberty, probably as a response to increasing levels of testosterone (male hormone). It is benign (not cancerous), and is rarely seen in women. Lasers may decrease the pigmentation, and electrolysis can be used to treat the hairs. Most men with this birthmark are comfortable with its presence and do not desire treatment.

 Imagine a pre-teen boy, becoming aware of a blotchy dark mark on his upper back or chest. Already saddled with pubescent anxiety, this lesion could further lessen his confidence. To that boy, we can offer the example of Gere, here shown with Lauren Hutton in "American Gigolo." His birthmark does not appear to have slowed his amorous endeavors in the slightest. Gere's doing all right.

© 1996-2008 Vail Reese M.D.

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