And then I had a clean shave.
What surprised me the most is that now I am in day 4 post-shave, and I only have the amount of stubble that I would normally have in the early 2nd day post-shave (before I grew this stubble).
Also, this might be completely coincidental (or even just my impression), but I noticed a bit of increased hair shedding during the second week of growing the beard.
However, on a very positive note, my skin reset and became healthier overall. In particular, I had developed some minor dry spots around the mouth (from over-shaving, I suppose), which came back to normal after the first 10 days or so of growing the stubble.
I think now that it is a good practice to grow a good amount of stubble once or twice per year, just to let the face rest.