A balanced redox state is critical for proper healing. Although human chronic wounds are characterized by high levels of oxidative stress (OS), whether OS levels are critical for chronic wound development is not known. For these studies, we used our chronic wound model in diabetic mice that has similar characteristics as human chronic wounds, including naturally developed biofilm. We hypothesize that OS levels in wound tissues are critical for chronic wound initiation and development. We show that increased OS levels in the wound correlate with increased chronicity. Moreover, without increased OS levels, biofilm taken from chronic wounds and placed in new excision wounds do not create chronic wounds. Similarly, high OS levels in the wound tissue in the absence of the skin microbiome do not lead to chronic wounds. These findings show that both high OS levels and bacteria are needed for chronic wound initiation and development. In conclusion, OS levels in the wound at time of injury are critical for biofilm formation and chronic wound development and may be a good predictor of the degree of wound chronicity. Treating such wounds might be accomplished by managing OS levels with antioxidants combined with manipulation of the skin microbiome after debridement.