Coconut oil is traditionally used for cooking and baking, though according to Allison Tannis in the book, "Feed Your Skin, Starve Your Wrinkles," it has long been used in India and Sri Lanka for conditioning and styling hair. These cultures have used coconut oil externally for many years and understand its healing capabilities for both the hair and skin. Recently, coconut oil has become the base for some natural deodorants on the market. Coconut oil may be useful as a deodorant because it is antibacterial, hydrates the skin and is anti-inflammatory. Perform a skin test to measure a possible allergy reaction before using coconut oil as a deodorant.
Coconut oil is antibacterial, and therefore may help to fight the bacteria that causes underarms to smell after you sweat. According to Siegfried Gursche in the book "Coconut Oil: Discover the Key to Vibrant Health," at a hospital in the Philippines, coconut oil has been used on patients who had skin conditions including burns, unidentified brown spots and psoriasis. The antibacterial and antiviral properties of lauric acid, a component of coconut oil, may kill the bacteria that flourish in warm, moist areas of the skin and produce odor.
Another use for coconut oil as a deodorant is to hydrate the skin. In the book "Coconut Oil: For Health and Beauty," Cynthia Holzapfel notes that applying a thin layer of coconut oil after a shower to problem areas on the skin helps to form a more protective layer. This is due to increasing skin surface lipid levels. If you have dry, cracked areas under the arms due to shaving, coconut oil deodorant may prevent continued damage.
Underarm skin can be a sensitive area for some people. The chemicals found in antiperspirants and store-bought deodorants may cause irritation to the pores and hair follicles in the armpit region. Coconut oil deodorant, on the other hand, may help to calm the skin. This oil is an essential ingredient in restorative skin care, according to Kami McBride in her book "The Herbal Kitchen." She also notes it nourishes damaged skin and has anti-inflammatory effects when used topically. Plus, it contains antioxidants that can fight free radicals that can lead to inflammation.