There has been considerable interest in understanding the effects of antioxidants in flap survival during diabetes. Previous studies showed that chlorogenic acid (CGA) exhibits potent antioxidant effects. We aimed to determine the effects of systemic CGA treatment on skin flap survival in an experimental random-pattern dorsal skin flap model in diabetic rats. Twenty-eight male Wistar rats were divided into four groups: phosphate buffered saline (PBS)-treated or CGA-treated nondiabetic rats, PBS-treated or CGA-treated diabetic rats. Diabetes was induced by streptozotocin (45 mg/kg). Caudally based bipedicled dorsal skin flaps were elevated. CGA (100 mg/kg) or PBS (mL/kg; as vehicle) was administered intraperitoneally once daily. On postoperative day 7, flap survival, regional blood perfusion and microangiography were evaluated. The malondialdehyde (MDA), reduced glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and nitric oxide (NO) levels were evaluated from the flap tissue. Capillary density and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression were assessed. Harmful effects of diabetes on flap survival were observed. CGA attenuated these effects and allowed greater survival and blood perfusion. CGA decreased MDA and NO levels and increased GSH and SOD levels. CGA elevated capillary density and VEGF expression. This study showed that peripherally administered CGA significantly improved flap survival in diabetic and nondiabetic rats.